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Oklahoma Pardon And Parole Board Votes To Commute The Death Sentence Of Julius Jones

Pardon and Parole Board members have drastically increased the number of recommendations for commutations and paroles in the last year.
Quinton Chandler
StateImpact Oklahoma

After a first ever enhanced commutation hearing, the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole board has voted to commute the death sentence of Julius Jones to life in prison.

Jones was convicted of the 1999 murder of Edmond man Paul Howell. At the hearing Paul Howell’s daughter Rachel Howell spoke.  

Julius Jones
Julius Jones

“I never really looked into the facts about this case as I grew up because I felt like I didn’t need to. The overwhelming amount of evidence is there and the courts made their decision. But over the last few years it seems like this has just all blown up. I was forced to really dig deep and learn all of the facts about this case so I could make a decision for myself.”  

Howell said she believes Jones is guilty, and the other members of the Howell family who were present agreed. Attorneys on both sides of the case also spoke before the board voted. With one member having recused himself, the board voted three to one to recommend commutation. Board member Kelly Doyle justified her vote to commute. 

"Mr. Jones was 19 years old at the time of the crime. What we know about brain science and brain development now is not what we knew when Mr. Jones was convicted," said Doyle. 

The board’s recommendation will now go to Gov. Kevin Stitt who will approve or deny it. There is no time limit for Gov. Stitt’s action.

This report was produced by the Oklahoma Public Media Exchange, a collaboration of public media organizations. Help support collaborative journalism by donating at the link at the top of this webpage.

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