A Black man who spent practically 20 years on demise row for a criminal offense he’s maintained he by no means dedicated has been granted clemency by Oklahoma’s governor after high-profile supporters throughout the nation rallied in his protection.
Simply hours earlier than he was set to be executed, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt issued an govt order Thursday, decreasing Julius Jones’ sentence to life in jail with out the potential of parole after calls from anti-death penalty activists and celebrities to spare his life.
In a statement, Stitt said, “After prayerful consideration and reviewing supplies introduced by all sides of this case, I’ve decided to commute Julius Jones’ sentence to life in jail with out the potential of parole.”
Jones’ lawyer, Amanda Bass, celebrated the information however stated they’d hoped Jones may have acquired the potential of parole.
“Governor Stitt took an essential step at the moment in the direction of restoring public religion within the felony justice system by guaranteeing that Oklahoma doesn’t execute an harmless man,” she stated. “Whereas we had hoped the Governor would undertake the Board’s advice in full by commuting Julius’s sentence to life with the potential of parole in gentle of the overwhelming proof of Julius’s innocence, we’re grateful that the Governor has prevented an irreparable mistake.”
Supporters within the state Capitol, who had been rallying for days, erupted into cheers and tears.
Jones was convicted in 2002 of murdering a person throughout an tried carjacking, however has maintained his innocence all through his incarceration.
Protests had been underway the week main as much as Jones’ execution. The Oklahoma State Convention chapter of the NAACP suggested supporters to put on all black to indicate solidarity with Jones.
In an email to NBC Oklahoma City, NAACP chapter president Anthony Douglas wrote, “We’re sporting black not just for the injustice of the Julius Darius Jones [death sentence], but additionally to ship a transparent message that if Governor Stitt chooses to execute Julius Jones, he’s executing all of us.”
Lots of of scholars stormed out of Oklahoma Metropolis colleges on Wednesday, in keeping with the BBC, in hopes of convincing Stitt to intervene.