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.

At a Black Lives Matter rally in Oklahoma City on Sunday, 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 told 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


Former Sooners respond to the death of George Floyd

“Save the bullshit, ” Kenny Stillsresponse via Twitter to Roger Goodell's statement following protest across America after the death of George Floyd.

Floyd, an unarmed 59-year-old African-American, died while in police custody after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on the back his neck.

Goodell, the Commissioner of the National Football League, offered sentiment recognizing the impact of the league, that is largely minority, on society.

Ron Jenkins/Associated Press
“The protesters’ reactions to these incidents reflect the pain, anger and frustration that so many of us feel, ” Goodell issued in a  statement on the league’s official Twitter account on Saturday.

"As current events dramatically underscore, there remains much more to do as a country and as a league. These tragedies inform the NFL's commitment and our ongoing efforts," Gooddell added.

"There remains an urgent need for action. We recognize the power of our platform in communities and as part of the fabric of American society."

Stills known for being outspoken regarding social inequality isn’t alone as Kyler Murray, the top overall NFL draft pick in 2019, retweeted former President Barack Obama’s tweet.

On Tuesday, Murray called for accountability via Twitter.

Stills, Murray aren't alone as Adrian Peterson, who played ten seasons in Minneapolis, called for accountability of officers, too.

“There’s no way that I personally could sit there and watch another human being be murdered by hands of those who swore to protect us, ” Peterson tweeted on Wednesday.

On Monday, Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young joined protestors at Andrews Park in Norman.

“I know this country’s in a messed up place right now,” Young told the peaceful demonstrators, via KOCO. “And for me, I just think it’s important that we all stick together and we stand up for what’s right."