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Death row inmate gets last-minute clemency

Protesters celebrate and cry outside the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., after the governor stayed Julius Jones’ execution order. Associated Press/Photo by Ian Maule/Tulsa World

Death row inmate gets last-minute clemency

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt issued an order late Thursday morning commuting the death sentence of Julius Jones to life imprisonment. The state was scheduled to execute Jones at 4 p.m. More than 6.5 million people signed a Change.org petition to save Jones’ life, and roughly 1,800 Oklahoma high school students walked out of class on Wednesday to protest the planned execution.

Who is Julius Jones? Jones was 21 when he was charged with the murder of an Oklahoma City businessman in a carjacking. State attorneys said the evidence was overwhelming against him, especially because the weapon was found with Jones’ DNA on it in his home. Jones claims a friend framed him. His case garnered national and international attention after a 2018 documentary reported accusations of racial bias and misconduct in his trial. On Nov. 1, Oklahoma’s Pardon and Parole Board voted 3 to 1 to recommend a commuted sentence because the members also had doubts about whether Jones is guilty. Stitt’s clemency order commutes the sentence to life in prison but comes with the condition that Jones will not be eligible for another commutation, pardon, or parole.

Dig deeper: Listen to Mary Reichard’s coverage of a Supreme Court case dealing with prayer and spiritual support in the execution chamber.

Carolina Lumetta

Carolina is a WORLD reporter and a graduate of the World Journalism Institute and Wheaton College. She resides in Washington, D.C.


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