Monday all eyes will be on the Pardon and Parole Board as they consider Julius Jones commutation application.
He sits on death row for the 1999 murder of an Edmond businessman Paul Howell.
News 9 was told this process is a first in the state for a death row inmate, and this case has been followed here in Oklahoma and nationally for decades.
News 9’s Ashley Holden talked with the state Attorney General and Jones’ attorney in the days leading up to the board’s consideration.
Jones and his team submitted an application for commutation back in 2019. Just days before the Pardon and Parole Board’s meeting there were numerous new exhibits submitted by his team. This includes an affidavit from February 2021 signed by Arkansas inmate Rodrick Wesley.
Welsey said he served time with Jones’ co-defendant Christopher Jordan. The affidavit states at one point Jordan confessed to Wesley that he was the real killer. The Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater sent a letter to the Pardon and Parole Board asking them not to consider the new exhibits.
“We did not receive copies of the exhibits themselves until 3:25 p.m.,” said the DA Prater in the letter. “Mr. Jones’s counsel has never presented said items in a court of law nor provided the State of Oklahoma with notice of their existence.”
Jones’ legal team responded to News 9’s comment request.
“The Pardon and Parole Board is not limited to considering information or evidence that was presented in a court of law,” said Assistant Federal Public Defender Dale Baich. “Why would the district attorney oppose the board considering additional evidence of Julius’ innocence? The board should consider all the evidence, including the district attorney’s file which he continues to withhold from us. The commutation process is set up to correct an injustice and right a wrong, like the one that occurred in Julius’ case. The public should be concerned about the fact that the district attorney is willing to go to such lengths to tamper with this process and deny Julius a fair hearing.”