2020-06-05

Young, Griffin asks Governor, Board to review Julius Jones case

A pair of former Sooners asked members of the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board, Governor Kevin Stitt to commute the sentence of thirty-nine-year-old Julius Jones.

In a letters published by NonDoc Media, Trae Young and Blake Griffin asked Stitt, members of the board to review Jones' case.

“I am writing in support of Julius Jones’ application for a commutation. I hope you will determine in reviewing Julius’s case and subsequent trial that he is innocent and should be released from prison, ” Griffin wrote in a letter published on NonDoc.com on Wednesday.

Sue Ogrocki / Associated Press
Jurors convicted Jones, a then 18-year-old, of the murder of Paul Howell, a white businessman in Edmond, Okla., 21 years ago, Jones currently sits on Oklahoma's death row.

A commutation is described as a tool to ‘correct an unjust or excessive sentence,’ that can be recommended by the board, and only under the authority of the Governor of Oklahoma that can one be issued to reduce a sentence.

Young, 21, echoed his responsibility as an athlete to bring attention to Jones' case.

“I and so many other people have been called to raise concerns regarding Julius Jones’ case because of the many obvious ways in which the legal system failed him. Julius’ co-defendant, who testified against him, changed his story no fewer than six times when interviewed by the police, ” Young wrote.

Jones and co-defendant Christopher Jordan were convicted, however, Young, Griffin, and Russell Westbrook of the Houston Rockets urged all parties to consider commutation.

“To hear that a juror allegedly used the N-word when referring to Julius during trial, yet remained on the jury, is deeply disturbing to me, “ Westbrook, National Basketball Association M.V.P. in 2016-17 while playing for Oklahoma City Thunder, wrote in a letter dated April 27.

Howell's daughter, who didn’t want to be identified, talked of the importance of racial inequality and gun violence in communities.

“Personally, coming from someone who has been a victim of gun violence and witnessed the murder of my father that happened to be by an African American man, this extremely traumatic experience for me has NEVER skewed my views against people of color,” Howell’s daughter wrote on social media, via KOCO-TV, who was nine-year-old at the time of his murder.

“While I do not agree with the individuals attempting and advocating for my father’s murderer’s release. I do believe the innocent people of color and innocent minorities out there deserve a chance. A chance at life. A chance at opportunity.”

Griffin, 31, argued as ‘proud son of Oklahoma, ’  the jurors weren’t allowed to hear testimony during trial deliberations.

‘The jury also did not see a photo that would have shown that Julius did not fit the eyewitness’ description, however, the co-defendant did. Two of the key witnesses, who were implicated in the crime and did no time for the murder of car robbery, were given deals on other charges in exchange for their testimony against Julius,” Griffin added.

Young suggested the five-member board to look beyond their roles, “When I am not sure what to do, I seek guidance from God.”

To find more about this case visit: Justiceforjuliusjones.com

Correction: The article incorrectly stated Howell's daughter told KOCO-TV; when her statement was posted on social media.





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