Oklahoma panel recommends governor spare Julius Jones’ life | National News | #schoolshooting


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma’s Pardon and Parole Board on Monday recommended Gov. Kevin Stitt spare the life of death row inmate Julius Jones, whose murder conviction for the 1999 killing of an Edmond businessman has drawn national attention.

The board recommended in 3-1 votes that Stitt grant Jones clemency and commute his sentence to life in prison with the possibility of parole 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. One board member, Scott Williams, recused himself from the vote because of an existing friendship with an attorney who has advocated for Jones.

“I continue to believe there is still doubt in this case,” said board member Kelly Doyle.

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.

Stitt must now decide whether to grant clemency or commute Jones’ sentence.



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