New questions arose concerning the impartiality of the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board on the eve of Julius Jones’ commutation listening to.
The demise row inmate calls the parole board his final hope.
“I don’t wish to die for a criminal offense I didn’t commit,” he wrote in a letter despatched to the parole board which meets Monday to determine his destiny.
Oklahoma County District Legal professional David Prater is asking that new board member Scott Williams be disqualified from the vote due to his ties to a key Jones supporter.
Williams is listed on-line as on the “crew” of KMM Sports activities, an organization based by Kelli Masters, a sports activities agent, lawyer and former twirler on the College of Oklahoma.
Masters is scheduled to talk on behalf of Jones on the listening to. Prater is getting ready to go to the Oklahoma Supreme Court docket to hunt an emergency keep of the listening to if Williams isn’t disqualified.
Williams refused to disqualify himself, saying he solely has an unpaid advisory place and has by no means mentioned the Jones case with Masters.
Jones, 41, is going through execution for the 1999 deadly taking pictures of the Edmond insurance coverage government throughout a carjacking. Jurors selected the demise penalty as punishment at a 2002 trial.
The sufferer, Paul Howell, was gunned down in his mother and father’ driveway in Edmond after a back-to-school purchasing journey along with his daughters. Stolen was his 1997 Suburban.
Jones was 19 on the time of his arrest.
“The reality is: I didn’t kill Mr. Howell,” Jones wrote. “I didn’t take part in any manner in his homicide; and the primary time I noticed him was on tv when his demise was reported.”
His innocence declare has attracted assist from each celebrities and well-known athletes. Thousands and thousands signed a petition in his assist after ABC in 2018 aired the documentary sequence, “The Final Protection,” about his innocence declare.
The district lawyer mentioned if the board considers the reality of the case objectively “they are going to rapidly vote to disclaim the killer’s commutation request.”
“I’ll take my battle for justice to the Governor’s workplace if essential. Reality and the rule of legislation should prevail in this and each case. Justice can’t be subverted by cash, politics or celeb,” Prater mentioned.
Gov. Kevin Stitt could have the ultimate say if the board recommends life in jail or life in jail with out the potential for parole.
A choice on a advice would come as Stitt runs for reelection six years after greater than 66 % of voters authorised a constitutional modification in assist of demise penalty.
The five-member board is about to take up Jones’ request at 9:30 a.m. Monday.
In making their determination, the board should weigh a lot of immediately conflicting claims backed by a whole lot of pages of proof.
For example, Jones wrote in his letter “I used to be by no means given the chance to share my alibi.”
“Even if I used to be at house with my siblings and oldsters in the course of the time of the homicide, my lawyer by no means noticed match to name them to the stand,” he wrote.
Prosecutors identified to the parole board that his personal trial attorneys have testified Jones mentioned he wasn’t house.
“We had the knowledge from Mr. Jones himself saying that his mother and father had been mistaken about which evening that was,” protection lawyer Malcolm Savage mentioned. “I believe that … the evening that they had been all there was the earlier evening.”
Jones was immediately implicated at trial within the deadly taking pictures by his buddy, Christopher Jordan.
Below a plea settlement, Jordan pleaded responsible to first-degree homicide and conspiracy to commit a theft for his function and was sentenced to 30 years in jail.
Jones claims Jordan is the precise killer and framed him to get a deal.
“There are a number of males who did time with Christopher Jordan who reveal that Jordan recurrently and casually confessed to killing Paul Howell,” Jones wrote.
Prosecutors counter these new witnesses aren’t plausible.
For example, they identified that an Arkansas inmate who claims Jordan “spilled his guts” in 2010 as soon as shot himself to file a false employees’ compensation declare.
Additionally they informed the board that inmate Roderick Wesley was recognized as having Delinquent Persona Dysfunction.
“Mendacity is a trademark of ASPD and Roderick Wesley isn’t any exception,” they wrote.
“Jordan mentioned to me ‘my co-defendant is on demise row behind a homicide I dedicated,'” Wesley mentioned within the assertion given to the parole board. “He was performing like he was sorry for what he had executed however he mentioned that he was not going to leap on the market and provides himself as much as the wolves.”
Final week, the district lawyer requested the Oklahoma Supreme Court docket to disqualify board chairman Adam Luck and board member Kelly Doyle.
Each have been outspoken in pushing for felony justice reform. Prater complained they had been biased towards releasing inmates. Justices on Friday refused to intervene.
“If Ahayah sees match to at some point enable me to go away this jail respiration, I’ll make it my life’s objective to help different younger women and men to remain on the suitable path,” Jones wrote.
Dozens gathered Sunday afternoon on the Tabernacle Baptist Church for a prayer service on Jones’ behalf.