OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board voted Monday to approve a recommendation to commute the death sentence for Julius Jones.
Jones is currently sentenced to death in the 1999 killing of Edmond man Paul Howell.
The board approved the recommendation with three out of five votes, one member voting against and another recusing himself from the proceedings.
The recommendation will go to Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt for a final decision.
Approval would downgrade Jones's sentence to life in prison.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court denied the request to remove Adam Luck and Kelly Doyle from the case on Friday. The request had argued that Luck and Doyle had a conflict of interest due to their work with released inmates.
On Monday, board member Scott Williams recused himself from the proceedings after a motion filling that attempted to point out another potential conflict of interest.
Jones, 41, has maintained his innocence since his arrest and says he was framed by the actual killer who was a state witness in the case against him.
Kim Kardashian West and athletes with Oklahoma ties, including NBA stars Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin and Trae Young have all made calls for the commutation of Jones's sentence.
Thank you Adam Luck, Kelly Doyle and Larry Morris for your courage and integrity today. Their votes to recommend commutation of his death sentence to life with the possibility of parole mark the first moment of #JusticeforJuliusJones. 🙏🏼
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) September 13, 2021
Former state Attorney General Mike Hunter has said the evidence against Jones is overwhelming with information from trial transcripts showing that witnesses identified Jones as the shooter and placed him with Howell’s stolen vehicle.
Investigators found the murder weapon and a bandana with Jones’s DNA in an attic space above his bedroom, but Jones says in his commutation filing that the gun and bandana were planted there by the actual killer.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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