Oklahoma leaders respond to Julius Jones execution

Rep. John Talley (R) Okla.:

“If we believe, as conservatives, in law and order and the criminal justice system, then we have to make sure the system is getting it right. In this case, the Pardon and Parole Board spent several hours looking at the case, during two separate hearings, and determined that it may not have. We should not execute a man in that context.”

Rep. Logan Phillips (R) Okla.:

“You just can’t be sure in this case,” said Phillips. “There is a lot of information – including an alibi, a witness description and a confession from another man who says he’s the real killer – that the jury never heard. With so much uncertainty, I urge the Governor to take the recommendation sent to him twice now by his Pardon and Parole Board.”

Rep. Garry Mize (R) Okla.:

“The last thing the state should be doing is taking the life of someone who may be innocent. There is too much doubt here, especially given that Julius Jones’ codefendant has confessed to being the real murderer. We can’t move forward with an execution under these circumstances in good conscience. I hope and pray Gov. Stitt accepts the recommendation of his Parole Board.”

Rep. Preston Stinson (R) Okla.:

“Paul Howell’s murder was a terrible tragedy for his family and this entire community. More than two decades later, however, I have many constituents who still have questions. Our judicial system gives judges and juries the responsibility to determine guilt and sentencing. However, the Pardon and Parole Board also plays a role in this system, and in this case they have recommended clemency. For that reason, I am asking Gov. Stitt to take him off of death row and accept the recommendation of his Pardon and Parole Board.”

Amanda Bass, Jones’ attorney:

“The Pardon and Parole Board has now twice voted in favor of commuting Julius Jones’s death sentence, acknowledging the grievous errors that led to his conviction and death sentence. We hope that Governor Stitt will exercise his authority to accept the Board’s recommendation and ensure that Oklahoma does not execute an innocent man.”

Bishop William J. Barber II, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign:

We are praying with Julius Jones and his family that Gov. Stitt will take the advice of the Pardon and Parole Board in this case and grant clemency. I have walked with several men in my own home state who were falsely accused and convicted of crimes for which they were sentenced to death. Just last week, our governor in North Carolina granted a full pardon to Dontae Sharpe, who served 23 years for a crime he did not commit. Any public official who swears to uphold justice must take seriously their responsibility to prevent further harm when they know the criminal legal system has made mistakes.