Archbishop Coakley commends decision to commute Jones’ death sentence

“I applaud his commitment to seeking justice while providing the condemned an opportunity for redemption,” the archbishop said in a Nov. 18 statement.

Stitt reduced Jones’ sentence to life in prison without parole, partially following a recommendation from the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board but veering from that recommendation, reached in a 3-1 vote Nov. 1, to reduce Jones’ sentence to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Jones was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to die for the 1999 shooting death of a 45-year-old man, Paul Howell, during a carjacking. Jones was 19 at the time. His case gained some high-profile attention after it was featured in a 2018 ABC documentary “The Last Defense.”

Jones’ attorney, Amanda Bass, said the Oklahoma governor “took an important step today toward restoring public faith in the criminal justice system by ensuring that Oklahoma does not execute an innocent man.”

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