OKLAHOMA CITY – Supporters for Julius Jones are scheduled to present the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board with a petition of more than six million signatures Thursday calling for Jones’ sentence to be commuted.
The Oklahoma Black Caucus released a statement in support of Julius Jones and against Oklahoma’s use of the death penalty. The statement sent to The City Sentinel, CapitolBeatOK and other state news organizations read:
“The Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus, two years ago, submitted a letter to the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board supporting the saving of Julius Jones’ life as he has served 21 years.
“Our review of the case, a phone conversation with Julius Jones, and meetings with the family strengthen our on-going support of Julius and his family.
“The district attorney, who sentenced Julius Jones to death recommended a historic high 54 death sentences, yet 27 of his cases were reversed and three people were exonerated due to findings of prosecutorial misconduct. Doubt is cast on the Jones case.
“The issue of questionable due process, a co-defendant turned state’s key witness, racist comments reported from a juror, a withheld file that could be made public, and unfair procedural issues are concerning.
“The facts of racially biased practices are evident in long studied data; the killing of a white male person leads to execution 3 times more than the killing of a black person.
“The bipartisan Oklahoma Death Penalty Review Commission issued a report unanimously recommending that Oklahoma continue its moratorium on executions ‘until significant reforms are accomplished.’
“We oppose state tax-dollar-funded killing. At least 4.1 percent of defendants sentenced to death are innocent according to the National Academy of Sciences.
“We, The Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus, stand staunchly opposed to the death penalty; we pray mercy to be demonstrated and the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board and Gov. Stitt grant clemency.”
Note: Members of the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus include: Chair, Rep. Regina Goodwin, Vice-Chair, Rep. Jason Lowe, Sen. George Young, Sen. Kevin Matthews, Rep. Monroe Nichols, Rep. Merleyn Bell, Rep. Ajay Pittman, and Rep. Mauree Turner.