Julius Jones is set to be executed by the state of Oklahoma on Thursday.
Julius Jones supporters gather outside Oklahoma governor’s house ahead of execution
Mr Jones’s family and supporters – a group that includes celebrities like Kim Kardashian and basketball player Russell Westbrook – have been pressuring Oklahoma’s Governor Kevin Stitt to commute the man’s sentence to life in prison, but so far Mr Stitt has not indicated he is considering a reversal.
Mr Stitt is also facing international pressure after the European Union’s ambassador to the US penned a letter calling on him to stop the execution and a petition against the execution has garnered more than 6 million signatures.
Jones, 41, has spent more than half of his life in prison after he was charged and convicted of the murder of Paul Howell during a 1999 carjacking. He has maintained that he is innocent of the crime and was framed by his then-friend and co-defendant, who allegedly actually shot Mr Howell.
The state has scheduled Jones to death by lethal injection, making him only the second prisoner to be executed since the state took a six year break from using the deadly drug concoction after a series of botched executions. The first person to be executed since the moratorium was lifted, a 60 year old inmate, convulsed and vomited during the execution, which raised further questions about the drugs.
Jones and his supporters have been visiting Mr Stitt’s office in the days leading up to the execution in an attempt to secure a meeting to discuss a stay of execution. ABC’s documentary The Last Defense explores Jones’ fight to avoid the death penalty and attracted the support of celebrities, especially those with ties to Oklahoma.
David Cox’s stepdaughter speaks of the moment Cox killed her mother
The 23-year-old stepdaughter of David Cox, who was executed in Mississippi on Wednesday, recalled the painful moment she saw her mother laying on the floor, bleeding after Cox shot her.
Lindsey Kirk was just 8 years old when her mother was murdered by Cox.
Speaking to Associated Press, just a day before he was executed at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, Ms Kirk said: “When I found out that he was wanting to go ahead and get it (the execution) over with, I wasn’t really happy about it. Like, I kind of just wanted him to sit there. I guess I’m OK with it now.”
Cox, before his execution, had said that he was “worthy of death.”
Recalling the day he shot her mother, Ms Kirk said: “A gunshot came through the screen door, and he ran in and told me not to move.” He then took his stepdaughter there and “Mama was laying on the floor. She was bleeding,” Ms Kirk remembered. Her brother “was balled up in a closet.”
Cox also sexually assaulted her three times in front of her dying mother.
60% of Oklahoma city voters support commuting Julius Jones’ death sentence
A survey by the Death Penalty Information Centre revealed earlier this year that “60 per cent of those who said they knew anything about the case of death-row prisoner Julius Jones believe Oklahoma authorities should commute his death sentence.”
The centre conducted a survey of 500 registered voters in Oklahoma between 24 – 28 June this year and said that the awareness of the death row case had “significantly” increased in the state.
The 41-year-old Julius Jones was sentenced to death for murdering a businessman — Paul Howell — in 1999 during a carjacking.
Meanwhile, till 17 November this year, ten prisoners have been executed in the United States by federal and state governments.
Spain joins the list of European countries calling for clemency for Julius Jones
Spain became the latest European nation to join other EU countries in their calls for clemency.
The ambassadors of France, Belgium, and Denmark have already joined the EU call for clemency for Julius Jones.
Robert Dunham, the executive director of Death Penalty Information Centre confirmed this in a tweet.
He tweeted: “Spain has now joined the list of European countries calling for clemency for #JuliusJones. @SpainMFA @EUintheUS @EUAmbUS @GovStitt @justice4julius @DPInfoCtr #Oklahoma #deathpenalty”
Jones, 41, was sentenced to death by lethal injection for the 1999 murder of a businessman, Paul Howell, during a carjacking.
Meanwhile, governor Kevin Stitt has not said anything about granting clemency to Jones.
There is a growing clamour around this execution that is scheduled for Thursday, with many organisations and public figures throwing their weight behind the cause.
Mississippi witnesses first execution since 2012
Even as calls for clemency for Julius Jones gain momentum around the world, Mississippi state witnessed its first execution since 2012 yesterday evening.
David Neal Cox was pronounced dead by state officials at 6.12pm on Wednesday at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman.
In 2012, Cox pleaded guilty to the capital murder of his wife, Kim Kirk Cox and several other charges including sexually assaulting his step-daughter.
Cox had also called himself “worthy of death” in court papers after a jury handed him the death sentence.
Burl Cain, the Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner, said that Cox’s last words were for his children.
Mr Cain said that Cox told him: “I want my children to know that I love them very much and that I was a good man at one time. Don’t ever read anything but the King James Bible. I want to thank the commissioner for being so very kind to me. And that’s all I got to say.”
Cox’s family has stayed silent over his execution and also didn’t attend the execution.
Mr Cain said: “We don’t know of any comment they want to make. If they wanted to make a comment, they would be here, I suppose.”
ICYMI: Jones and his family share final moments as hope fades of execution stay
Julius Jones’s family visited him for the last time on Wednesday, the day before he is scheduled to be executed at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary unless governor Oklahoma governor Kevin Stitt calls it off.
Here’s The Independent’s dispatch on the high-profile inmates final full day behind bars ahead of his potential execution.
Oklahoma death row inmate has now been moved to “death watch”
Amanda Knox: ‘Please show some compassion’
Amanda Knox has called on Governor Stitt to “show some compassion, humanity, courage, and reason”.
‘Julius will not be alone’: vigils planned for Julius Jone execution day
Activists are planning vigils for Julius Jones at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, where he is set to be executed on Thursday afternoon, as well outside Oklahoma governor Kevin Stitt’s office.
As Justice for Julius activist Jess Eddy put it on Twitter on Wednesday, “Julius will not be alone.”
Julius Jones on ‘death watch’ as authorities prepare last meal
Julius Jones’s execution is set for 4pm on Thursday, 18 November, and Oklahoma corrections officials have now put him under the state’s “death watch” protocols.
He’s now under constant surveillance in a room lit 24/7, owing to security concerns, and his personally belongings beside the bare minimum have been boxed up in preparation to send to his family. On Wednesday night he will eat his last meal.
Oklahoma has a checkered history of botched executions in recent years, with inmates like John Grant visibly suffering, while others were given the wrong drugs. Part of the death watch protocol involves officials double-checking they’ve got the right lethal injection chemicals on hand.
Oklahoma hadn’t executed anyone in six years, after a series of botched killings in 2014 and 2015, writes Josh Marcus
Even if officials do have the proper drugs, the state’s execution method has proved controversial, with a number of Oklahoma death row inmates suing and arguing that they cause unnecessary pain.
Oklahoma inmates have been waging a constitutional challenge against the state’s death penalty since 2014. Now, after a six-year pause, executions are set to resume. Josh Marcus writes
On the day of the execution, Jones will be allowed to briefly visit with his attorneys, and will be offered the chance to speak his last words.
Parole board casts doubt on Oklahoma executions
The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board voted 3-2 on Wednesday to recommend clemency for death row inmate Bigler Stouffer.
Stouffer is sentenced to death for the 1985 murder of Putnam City teacher Linda Reaves and the shooting of Doug Ivens.
The board recommended clemency on Wednesday despite acknowledging that Stouffer is not innocent of the crimes he’s been convicted of.
Board members expressed concerns over the state’s death penalty procedures after the Oct. 28 execution of John Grant — the first inmate killed by the state since lifting a moratorium on executions related to botched procedures.
Grant convulsed and vomited while receiving the lethal injection, but the state said the execution went according to plan.
Stouffer is the second consecutive death row inmate to get a clemency recommendation following Grant’s death. Julius Jones, scheduled for execution on Thursday, is awaiting a final decision on his clemency from Gov. Kevin Stitt.
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights calls on US to halt Julius Jones execution
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights called on the federal government to postpone the execution of Julius Jones, at least until it can consider an application before the body seeking to pause the killing.
Going forward risks executing a man who may not have received “the rights to a fair trial, and guarantees of due process, equality and non-discrimination,” the commission wrote, explaining its decision.