Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt granted clemency to Julius Jones ahead of his scheduled execution on Thursday, converting his sentence to life imprisonment without parole after public outcry over suspicions over whether he had committed the 1999 murder for which he was convicted was ordained.
Stitt’s executive order came hours before Jones was to be hanged, and Stitt said in a statement that he reduced Jones’ sentence “after prayer and review of material submitted by all parties to the case.”
As a condition of granting clemency, Stitt ordered that Jones would never be eligible to apply or be considered for parole, pardon or conversion for the rest of his life.
Jones’ attorney Amanda Bass said in a statement Businesshala His legal team was hopeful that Stitt would adopt the full board’s recommendation to give him the possibility of parole, but said he was grateful “the governor has prevented an irreparable mistake.”
The last-minute executive order followed a public outcry on social media, and among celebrities such as Kim Kardashian West, a prominent criminal justice advocate who called Jones’ case a “tragic miscarriage of justice.” ahead of its execution, and is to plead strongly For your freedom from 2019.
Oklahoma’s Pardon and Parole Board recommended Jones’ sentence was commuted in September, and voted for clemency again earlier this month, expressing doubts about his guilt in the crime.
Criminal justice advocacy groups have criticized the court’s handling of the case, claiming that jurors had shown signs of racial bias and that prosecutors withheld important evidence.