OKLAHOMA CITY — The mother of condemned inmate Julius Jones began a vigil outside Gov. Kevin Stitt’s Office Monday in a final effort to spare her son’s life.
Madeline Davis-Jones and several dozen supporters vowed to stay until Stitt agrees to meet with Davis-Jones and adopt the recommendation of the state’s Pardon and Parole Board to grant her son clemency. The execution is scheduled for Thursday at Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.
Davis-Jones said little as she held a letter in support of Jones’ clemency application. Wearing a green “Justice for Julius” bracelet and pin along with a T-shirt with her son’s face, she clasped her hands tightly as she stood awaiting word on whether Stitt would meet with her.
An official with Stitt’s office told her the governor was unavailable. The group then moved directly outside the office for the vigil.
Davis-Jones said she had no comment and would not say what was in the letter to Stitt.
Jones was convicted of first-degree murder in the 1999 carjacking death of 45-year-old insurance executive Paul Howell. Howell was robbed and shot in the head in the driveway of his parents’ home in Edmond. Authorities said they later found the murder weapon wrapped in a red bandana in the attic above the ceiling in Jones’ closet; they also said the killer was wearing a red bandana.
Brandon Kirkpatrick said he has been friends with Jones for two years. They met through Jones’ sister, and Kirkpatrick said he believes firmly in Jones’ innocence. He said Jones would be advocating for him if their roles were reversed.
“I’m here because Gov. Stitt has got to do the right thing,” Kirkpatrick said. “He’s got to grant commutation and clemency to Julius. There’s just tons of support out here for that. And, I believe that for the state of Oklahoma doing the right thing is important, too, because there’s a lot of emotion tied to this case.”
Kirkpatrick said he’s also praying Stitt will grant clemency.
“We believe that he’s going to,” Kirkpatrick said. “Gov. Stitt claims that he is the most pro-life governor in the United States, and there is nothing more pro-life that you can do than to save an innocent life, especially one that has been falsely accused and in prison for 22 years.”
“The governor takes his role in this process seriously and is carefully considering the Pardon and Parole Board’s recommendation as he does in all cases,” said Charlie Hannema, a Stitt spokesman.
Attorneys for Jones said in an email Monday they met with Stitt last week. They did not elaborate further. Stitt also has reportedly met with the family of Howell and the prosecutors.
But Jones’ supporters believe Stitt also should meet with Jones’ mother.
State Rep. Jason Lowe, D-Oklahoma City, said he doesn’t know why Stitt hasn’t met with Jones’ mother yet.
“I think he needs to also talk to the mother of Julius Jones, also his family members as well,” said Lowe, who supports Jones. “He met with the Howell family, and my heart goes out to the Howell family, and I’m grateful that he met with them because what happened to them as far as Mr. Howell being killed was a total tragedy.”
Jimmy Lawson, who said he’s Jones’ best friend, said they want to make sure Stitt hears of Jones’ innocence and the need to spare his life.
“I hope that we get the opportunity today to share our side of the story, so we can provide the details and the facts that have already been known,” Lawson said. “But it gives us an eyeball-to-eyeball opportunity to look him eyeball-to-eyeball to allow him to know that Julius Jones is innocent and his life needs to be spared.”
The Attorney General’s Office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.