By Tim Farley, For The City Sentinel
An execution date for convicted murderer Julius Jones has been set for Nov. 18, according to a schedule set by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals.
Dates for the executions of six other death row inmates were also announced Monday by the court.
Jones was convicted in 1999 of killing Edmond businessman Paul Howell in front of his two daughters and sister. However, the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board voted last week to recommend commutation of Jones’ sentence to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
The board’s recommendation must still be approved by Gov. Kevin Stitt.
“The governor takes his role in this process seriously and will carefully consider the Pardon and Parole Board’s recommendation as he does in all cases,” said Charlie Hannema, a Stitt spokesman. “We will not have any further comment until the governor has made a decision.”
The remaining six death row inmates are scheduled to receive the fatal drug cocktail beginning Oct. 28 with John Marion Grant who was convicted of killing Gay Carter, a prison kitchen worker at the Dick Conner Correctional Center in Hominy.
The appeals court set Dec. 9 as the date for Bigler Jobe Stouffer who was sentenced to die for the 1985 killing of Putnam City school teacher Linda Reaves.
Convicted killer Wade Greely Lay will go to the execution chamber on Jan. 6 for the 2004 killing of Tulsa security guard Kenneth Anderson. Anderson, a U.S. Air Force veteran, died in a gunfight with Lay and his son, Christopher Douglas Lay, during an armed robbery at MidFirst Bank in Tulsa. Christopher Lay was convicted and received life without parole.
The appeals court set an execution date of Jan. 27 for Donald Anthony Grant who was sentenced to die for the 2001 murders of Del City motel workers Brenda McElyea and Suzette Smith.
Gilbert Ray Postelle is set to be executed Feb. 17 for the 2005 murders of two people outside a Del City trailer. He was convicted of killing four people, but received the death penalty in two of the deaths.
The court set a March 10 execution date for James Allen Codington. The death row inmate was sentenced to die for the 1997 killing of Albert Hale in Oklahoma County.
Oklahoma put the death penalty on hold in 2015 after three flawed executions, including one that left the death row inmate writhing in pain.
Although the appeals court scheduled the seven executions, those plans may be put on hold after a federal judge in Oklahoma City ruled in August that a lawsuit challenging the state’s lethal injection protocols can proceed. U.S. District Judge Stephen Friot agreed in his order to consider at trial if Oklahoma’s current three-drug protocol risks subjecting inmates to unconstitutional pain and suffering.
The trial is expected to begin in early 2022. The lead plaintiff in the case, Richard Glossip, was hours away from being executed in 2015 when prison officials realized they received the wrong lethal drug. Then-Gov. Mary Fallin immediately halted the execution.
Oklahoma announced last year that it planned to resume executions using a three-drug lethal injection of midazolam, vecuronium bromide and potassium chloride. The state said it found a source for the drugs, which was a problem in 2015 when drug manufacturers stopped selling the drugs to states for execution purposes.