The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board voted 3-1 to recommend Julius Jones’ sentence be commuted from the death penalty to life in prison with the possibility of parole during a hearing Monday.
Jones has been on death row since 2002 after he was convicted of killing Paul Howell in the summer of 1999 when Jones was a student at OU. He was the first death row inmate scheduled to have his case heard by the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board.
The board’s recommendation will be sent to Gov. Kevin Stitt’s desk.
Stitt can accept or deny the board's recommendation, or he can change the recommendation and grant a different commutation sentence, according to the state government's website. He does not have a statutory timeline in which to respond.
On Twitter, various community members expressed excitement about the development, as well as remorse about the state of Oklahoma's justice system and concern about Stitt's upcoming decision.
But God #JuliusJones— Jess Eddy (@JessQuintonEddy) September 13, 2021
It saddens me that our justice system failed both #JuliusJones and Mr. Howell. I pray for their families and our state moving forward.— J.D. Baker (@JD__Baker) September 13, 2021
OK here's what to do next:Call the governor at 405-521-2342 and encourage him to follow the recommendation of the Pardon & Parole Board for commutation for Mr. Julius Jones.— Carlos Moreno (@cmoreno237) September 13, 2021
Cece Jones-Davis, Justice for Julius campaign director, expressed relief at the board's recommendation.
God won. #justiceforjulius— Cece Jones-Davis (@cecejonesdavis) September 13, 2021
Ari Fife contributed to this report.
This article was updated at 5:19 p.m. Monday, Sept. 13, to include Twitter reactions. It was updated again at 1:39 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14, to indicate Cece Jones-Davis is the Justice for Julius campaign director, not director.