Supporters of death row inmate and former OU student Julius Jones celebrated the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board’s 3-1 vote to commute his sentence Monday.
The Rev. Cece Jones-Davis, the Justice for Julius campaign director and creator of a petition with over 6 million signatures for Jones’ innocence, said she felt “complete relief and gratitude” Tuesday following a decision she felt was “a long time coming” for Jones and his family.
“We know our efforts over the last three years also played a big part in seeing the wheels of justice begin turning on his behalf. … I’m so grateful, I’m so grateful to God, I’m just so grateful,” Jones-Davis said.
The board’s recommendation to commute Jones’ death sentence to life in prison with the possibility of parole will head to Gov. Kevin Stitt’s desk, where he will accept, deny or change the recommendation. The last governor who granted clemency to an inmate was Gov. Brad Henry in 2010.
“You, (Gov. Stitt), have the power. You alone have the power, and you also have the support,” Jones-Davis said. “People know that something egregious has happened here, and you did not do this, but you can undo it.”
Ultimately, Jones-Davis said she gives the supporters of the campaign all of the credit for the action taken within Jones’ case.
“I am grateful for the community that has really stood up and fought for Julius’s life,” Jones-Davis said. “I believe that, if he has a story for society, Julius Jones is a bright and shining example of what can happen when people come together and do the right thing.”