Julius Jones is a 41-year-old man who was sentenced to be executed on November 18, 2021 for his alleged role in the 1999 murder of Paul Howell. At the time, Jones was a 19-year-old athlete attending the University of Oklahoma on an academic scholarship.
Although he has been in prison for more than two decades, Jones has maintained his innocence and was the subject of the Viola Davis docuseries “The Last Defense.” An online petition with over six million signatures begged for Oklahoma governor, Kevin Stitt, to grant him clemency, and even Kim Kardashian tweeted out her support for Jones and “so many others who have suffered from such a tragic miscarriage of justice.”
Although Stitt has commuted his death sentence, Jones will still serve life in prison without the possibility of parole for a crime he insists he did not commit.
Fans Are Celebrating That Jones Will Not Face The Death Sentence
Absolutely happy that Julius Jones has received commutation.
— Nancy Beningo (@nbeningo2) November 18, 2021
Advocates for Jones immediately took to social media to share their collective relief that a potentially innocent man will not lose his life for a crime he says he did not commit.
“Julius Jones has been granted clemency,” one user tweeted. “Thank god for everyone who brought attention to this cause. Abolish the death penalty.”
“Thankful , still feel like he should’ve been granted his freedom the man is innocent but definitely a step,” another added.
Thank you, @GovStitt for sparing the life of Julius Jones,” another wrote. “This was the right decision, the just decision. My heart is with Julius and his family today.”
Another tweeted, “Julius Jones received clemency 4hrs before his scheduled execution I’m happy but wtf! This system is sick… I can only imagine how scared he must have been.”
“Julius Jones will love to see another day!” one user tweeted. “I genuinely admire @KimKardashian dedication throughout the whole ordeal.”
Kim Kardashian herself responded to the news, thanking Governor Stitt for the clemency in a long Twitter thread.
Kim Kardashian Reveals She ‘Spent Most Of The Day’ With Jones
Thank you so much Governor Stitt for commuting Julius Jones sentence to life without parole and stopping his execution today.
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) November 18, 2021
In a lengthy Twitter thread, Kim thanked the Oklahoma governor for granting Jones clemency in his death sentence.
“Thank you so much Governor Stitt for commuting Julius Jones sentence to life without parole and stopping his execution today,” she wrote.
She revealed that she spent most of the day on the phone with him yesterday between his lawyer’s meetings and family visitation, although those visits still do not allow any contact between them.
She continued, “While I was on the phone with him somebody came in the room to try to give him his anti-anxiety meds that you usually are forced to take before you are executed so that you can be more calm about the fact that you are about to be executed. However Julius refused because he said he has a clear conscience and that gives him peace knowing he is innocent and did not want to be drugged up.”
She added that Jones asked her to pass along a few messages, saying that “the most important is that you have to always make sure you are doing the right thing. Julius was hanging out with the wrong crowd and that landed him in the position he’s in today. He said if you are doing something your mom wouldn’t approve of then you shouldn’t be doing it. It’s that simple!”
She concluded the message by writing, “I’m so grateful to everyone who used their voice and helped to save Julius’s life today. Thank you to the parole board and Governor Stitt.”
However, Some Are Not Celebrating For Julius Jones Just Yet
The Governor’s decision is not what the Pardon and Parole Board’s recommended—which was #JuliusJones be sentenced to life in prison WITH the possibility of parole. In that case, he would have immediately been eligible for parole on his murder conviction. https://t.co/FkTjLfDgy2
— Amaka Ubaka (@AmakaUbakaTV) November 18, 2021
News anchor Amaka Ubaka was one of the first to point out that “The Governor’s decision is not what the Pardon and Parole Board’s recommended—which was #JuliusJones be sentenced to life in prison WITH the possibility of parole. In that case, he would have immediately been eligible for parole on his murder conviction.”
“The DAs are already attacking our Oklahoma pardon and parole board because of their recommendations. They’re going to come harder now after this win,” another warned.
“Mr. Julius Jones will have another chance at life, but many other innocent black men and women will continue to be summarily executed by police,” tweeted comedian and activist Anthony Walker. “While we celebrate his victory, much still needs to be done.”
Although Kim Kardashian is still celebrating Jones’ small victory, it remains to be seen if she will continue to work with the family to try to secure the possibility of parole for Jones.