OKLAHOMA — Emotions ran high across Oklahoma Thursday as supporters of Julius Jones and supporters of Paul Howell's family waited for Governor Kevin Stitt to make a decision regarding Jones' death sentence.
Just after noon Stitt's decison to commute Jones' death sentence to life without parole and crowds in both McAlester and Oklahoma City reacted emotionally.
2 News reporter Naomi Kiett said cheers could be heard for several minutes in the Capitol after the news was delivered to the crowd.
"There's no words to describe the joy and happiness," said one supporter from the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. "It's just been tears of joy. Just continued to rain from my eyes."
He said a large part of what made the reaction special is the crowd made up of all different kinds of people of all races.
"This is what the nation should see today. This is what we should have every day. Coming together because we can't let the pandemic be the excuse for not loving one another," he said.
In McAlester, 2 News reporter Brady Halbleib confirmed the reactions were the same, lots of happy faces and hugs all around.
"I was happy that the power to people came out today and I'm gonna start again because Julius is not going to see the inside of a death chamber," said Roadie Baker Senior of his initial reaction. "He's finally going to get to see his family and be able to hug them and touch them."
Baker continued saying he's appreciative of everyone understood they were there for Jones. He believes it was this that played a large part in the governor's decision. However, Baker understands that the Howell family deserves their justice, just as much as Jones.
"When they lost Paul Howell, they didn't lose a part of their life. They lost a part of their family and they deserve justice, but they deserve the right justice," said Baker.
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