Best friend of Julius Jones describes aftermath, trial of Paul Howell’s murder

Gov. Kevin Stitt has spared Julius Jones’ life.

Earlier today, the Governor announced his decision to commute Jones’ sentence to life in prison without the chance of parole.

Jones’ case has gathered international attention. Some believe he is innocent while others say he is guilty. Jones was convicted of the 1999 murder of Edmond businessman Paul Howell.

The prosecution says that Jones went to Edmond to steal a Suburban. The Howell family had just pulled into their driveway. Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor says Jones pulled the trigger and killed Howell.

Jones’ best friend, Jimmy Lawson, describes the aftermath.

“The county sheriff says, you can’t stay here, we’re looking for a murderer. I’m thinking, wow, a murder on my street. He says Julius, and I’m like, wait a minute, you’ve got the wrong guy,” said Lawson.

Lawson says Jones couldn’t have pulled the trigger. “He was at home with the Jones family, having a birthday dinner. I know for a fact he was there.”

The prosecution says that Christopher Jordan drove Jones to the scene of the crime. Jordan also testified against Julius. But Lawson says Jordan actually matched the description of the gunman.

“Mr. Jordan matched the description to the T. He had braids, had an inch of hair hanging out of the back of itself. That could have changed the trial. But those pictures were never presented to the jury,” said Lawson.

Lawson says that Jones didn’t get much of a defense at all. At the time, Jones’ court-appointed attorneys had never handled a capitol case.

“The presentation of the facts of the case was never presented to the judge or jury. So, there was no description of the shooter, eyewitness, or alibi. So all the jury heard was one side, the prosecutorial side,” said Lawson.

When FOX23 asked Lawson if there was a chance that Jones made a mistake and committed the crime, he said “no chance.”

“All ballistics and testing of the vehicle, DNA, the gun, the clip. The evidence all matches someone else, not Julius Jones.” Lawson claims that several prisoners have come forward, saying that Jordan admitted that he framed Jones to take the fall for the murder.

However, O’Connor isn’t buying it.

“I have reviewed details, summaries of the evidence, and exhibits, I’ve interviewed prosecutors. There’s not one ounce of doubt in my mind that Julius Jones is guilty of the murder of Paul Howell.”

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