Jones, a 41-year-old Black man, was convicted of a murder he and others say he didn't commit. Activists, alleging deep flaws in Jones' trial, had urged Stitt, a Republican, to stop the execution.
In a statement, Stitt said Jones' sentence was being commuted “on the condition that he shall never again be eligible to apply for, be considered for, or receive any additional commutation, pardon, or parole.”
Jones was found guilty and sentenced to death in 2002 for the murder of Oklahoma businessman Paul Howell. Jones, who has always maintained his innocence, and his supporters say new evidence shows he was wrongfully convicted.
Specifically, they point to Jones’ defense attorneys’ neglecting to question family members during the trial who claimed they were eating dinner with Jones at the time of the murder. What’s more, prosecutors relied too heavily on testimony from a co-defendant who was given a lighter sentence for his involvement in the same murder, according to Jones.
“This is not about hatred. This is about the truth,” Jones said during his clemency hearing this month. “And the truth is that I did not shoot that man.”
“I continue to believe there is still doubt in this case,” board member Kelly Doyle said after the second vote.
On Tuesday’s episode of “The ReidOut,” Jones’ mother, Madeline Davis-Jones, told Joy that Julius still has faith in the justice system.
“He’s just trusting and believing in the system and in the Lord,” she said, “just believing that the truth will set him free.”
Head over to The ReidOut Blog for more.