DEATH row inmate Julius Jones has spent nearly two decades serving time behind bars for a crime he insists he didn’t commit while attending college in Oklahoma.
The 40-year-old prisoner was sentenced to death in 2002, but his case has found renewed interest thanks to the support of professional athletes and lawyer-in-training Kim Kardashian West. But who exactly is Jones, and what are the details of his murder case?
Julius Jones, 40, has been sitting on Death Row since he was convicted of murder in 2002 despite saying he was innocentCredit: The Mega Agency
His case gained renewed interest after Kim Kardashian brought to the forefront in 2019Credit: Instagram
Who is Julius Jones?
Julius Jones was a 19-year-old student at the University of Oklahoma when he was pinned as a suspect in the killing of 45-year-old businessman Paul Howell.
He was on the verge of gaining a basketball scholarship when he was arrested and charged with Howell’s murder in August 1999, according to OU Daily.
In 2002, he was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death in Oklahoma at just 22 years old.
Julius was charged with murder in 1999 and sentenced to death at just 22 years oldCredit: The Mega Agency
The black inmate has spent almost 20 years proclaiming his innocence, and a Change.org petition claims he spends 23 hours a day in solitary confinement.
“Every minute we wait to take action, Julius is suffering,” the petition says.
“Every second that goes by brings Julius closer to being executed for a crime he didn’t commit.”
Why is on he death row?
Julius Jones was arrested for murder in 1999 when Howell was shot in his 1997 GMC Suburban less than 20 miles away from Jones’ home.
Howell’s sister described the shooter as a “a black man wearing a stocking cap” with “half an inch of hair hanging out”, his attorney Dale Baich told OU Daily in December 2019.
Three suspects interviewed by Edmonton Police pinned Jones and a high school basketball teammate, Christopher Jordan, as the alleged carjacking murderers.
Despite a lack of evidence to directly connect Jones to the murder, he was sentenced to death and 40 years in prison.
Jordan was the state’s key witness against him, and advocates for Jones say his case has been tainted by racial discrimination.
Kim Kardashian paid Julius a visit at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in November
She also met with criminal justice advocates to discuss how to free him from prison
“We have serious concerns by the way the evidence was collected, handled and stored,” Baich said, claiming that Jones was targeted by “self-proclaimed car thugs and a gang member.”
Despite an agreement that the co-defendant would serve 30 years in exchange for his testimony, he walked free after clocking half that time, according to an overview of his case on JusticeForJuliusJones.com.
“In this way and many others, Mr. Jones’ rights under the state and federal constitutions have been violated and his conviction and death sentence should be overturned,” the description reads.
Meanwhile, Jones remains locked up at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary.
He filed for clemency in October 2019 after exhausting all of his options to fight the death penalty.
“I have spent the past 20 years on death row for a crime I did not commit, did not witness and was not at.”
“As God is my witness, I was not involved in any way in the crimes that led to Paul Howell being shot and killed,” his clemency report said, as reported by OU Daily.
Kim also met with the Jones family at a church and shared her experiences speaking with them
Kim said Julius reportedly ‘broke down in tears’ while speaking about his sister Antoinette during her jail visit
What has Kim Kardashian said about it?