Posted on November 3, 2021

Oklahoma Parole Board Recommends Clemency for Death Row Inmate Julius Jones

Adam Manno, Daily Mail, November 1, 2021

Oklahoma’s parole board has voted to spare the life of death row inmate Julius Jones.

Julius Jones

Julius Jones

The board recommended in 3-1 votes that Stitt grant Jones, , who was convicted of murdering father and businessman Paul Howell in 1999, clemency and commute his sentence to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Paul Howell

Paul Howell

The decision came after hearing from Jones, 41, who testified via video link from the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. Several members of the panel agreed they had doubts about the evidence that led to Jones´ conviction.


Howell’s family are devastated by the news and complained that, while Jones has drawn Hollywood support including a Viola Davis-backed documentary and reality star turned activist Kim Kardashian West, they are fighting alone.

‘This is David versus Goliath,’ Clayton Howell, Paul Howell’s nephew, told KFOR last month. ‘We don’t have the PR firm. We don’t have the Hollywood backing, but we have the truth, and we’re sitting here willing to tell it.’


The lone vote against clemency came from Richard Smothermon, a former prosecutor, who said he believed Jones was not being truthful in his testimony.

‘To believe in Mr. Jones’ theory of the case, you have to disbelieve every other piece of evidence in the case,’ including testimony from law enforcement officers, independent witnesses and physical evidence, Smothermon said.

The Innocence Project maintains that Julius Jones was ‘at home having dinner with his parents and sister at the time of the murder; however, his legal team failed to present his alibi at his original trial. His trial attorneys did not call Mr. Jones or his family members to the stand.’

Stitt must now decide whether to grant clemency to Jones.


The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals had set a November 18 execution date for Jones.

The state resumed lethal injections last week after a six-year hiatus, putting a man to death for the 1998 stabbing death of a prison cafeteria worker.

Jones was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to die in the 1999 shooting death of 45-year-old Paul Howell during a carjacking in the Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond.

During Jones’ trial in 2002, prosecutors said that he and Christopher Jordan followed Howell around in an attempt to rob him of his 1997 GMC Suburban.

Howell’s sister Megan Tobey said she had gone out with Paul and his two daughters to buy school supplies and stop for ice cream the night of the murder, according to a September interview with KFOR – the first sit-down interview the family has ever given.


Tobey, Rachel’s aunt and the only adult witness there that night, said she got a letter from Jones in 2014 urging her to change her testimony to implicate his partner, Jordan, complete with pictures of the pair at the time of the killing.

She said the photos reinforced her confidence in her testimony, which had helped put Jones in prison in the first place.

‘What it made me realize – Christopher Jordan had cornrows at the time,’ she said.

‘His stocking hat was so tight on his head, I know I would’ve seen the cornrows underneath because the top of his head was smooth. {snip}’


Jones also testified that he was at home with his parents and siblings on the evening when Howell was killed, but prosecutors said Jones himself previously told his trial lawyers that wasn’t true.

‘Jones repeatedly and unequivocally told his attorneys that his parents were mistaken and that he was not at home the night of the murder,’ said Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Crabb.

Previous reports said Jones was a student at the University of Oklahoma on a Presidential Leadership Scholarship. Some have even claimed he was a student athlete, a description used by many of his supporters rallying for his freedom.

KFOR reported that UO actually denied his financial aid after he failed his first semester with a 0.8 GPA and that he was never on an athletics team.

Crabb said Jones is a recognized member of the Bloods gang and that he has continued to commit criminal acts while inside prison {snip}


Jones alleges he was framed by Jordan, a high-school friend and former co-defendant who was a key prosecution witness.


Investigators also found the murder weapon and a bandanna with Jones’ DNA in an attic space above his bedroom. Jones said in his commutation filing that the gun and bandanna were planted there by the actual killer.