Jones’ case had drawn the attention of Kim Kardashian and other celebrities. Kardashian, an advocate for criminal justice reform, tweeted about Stitt’s decision, “Thank you so much Governor Stitt for commuting Julius Jones sentence to life without parole and stopping his execution today.” She said that she spoke to Jones on the phone on Wednesday.
“He also wanted me to pass a few messages along that were really important to him,” she wrote. “The most important is that you have to always make sure you are doing the right thing. Julius was hanging out with the wrong crowd and that landed him in the position he’s in today.”
I’m so grateful to everyone who used their voice and helped to save Julius’s life today.
Thank you to the parole board and Governor Stitt. 🙏🏼❤️
Jones was scheduled to be executed at 4 PM CT. Stitt said in a statement that he made the decision after “prayerful consideration and reviewing materials presented by all sides of this case.”
Jones was convicted in 2002 in the first degree murder of Paul Howell during a carjacking. Jones says that he is innocent, and his attorneys had sought clemency with the possibility of parole.
His attorney, Amanda Bass, said in a statement, per Yahoo News, “While we had hoped the Governor would adopt the [Parole] Board’s recommendation in full by commuting Julius’s sentence to life with the possibility of parole in light of the overwhelming evidence of Julius’s innocence, we are grateful that the Governor has prevented an irreparable mistake.”
Other entertainment and sports celebrity figures, including Mandy Patinkin, Steph Curry and Kerry Washington advocated for clemency.
Baker Mayfield wrote on Twitter, “God is GREAT!!! Thank you to everybody that prayed and continued to pray! @JuliusOklahoma”
God is GREAT!!! Thank you to everybody that prayed and continued to pray! @JuliusOklahoma
— Baker Mayfield (@bakermayfield) November 18, 2021
Kardashian had previously visited Jones at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary last year. She has previously advocated for the commutation of others incarcerated. President Donald Trump granted clemency to Alice Marie Johnson in 2018 after he met with Kardashian.
Viola Davis, who served as executive producer of a documentary on the Jones case, The Last Defense, tweeted, “So…. Julius Jones’ physical life has been spared. Praise to God and blessings to the Jones Family!! But there is enough evidence to suggest his innocence and THAT is a travesty. The lives of Black Folks are constantly diminished. Where are we? As a nation? As a people?”
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