Oklahoma will begin executing inmates this week, leaving Julius Jones and other death row inmates with an ongoing constitutional case against the state uncertain about their future. Josh Marcus writes from Oklahoma

On Tuesday morning, under a grey Oklahoma City sky, a crowd of about fifty people stood in an arc in a church parking lot with their hands raised in prayer, beaming hope across North Martin Luther King Avenue towards the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.

The group was there to demonstrate their support for ジュリアスジョーンズ, a Black man on death row who has long maintained his innocence in the brutal murder of Paul Howell. Howell, a white suburban businessman, was shot in front of his children during a carjacking in the Oklahoma City suburbs in 1999.

ジョーンズ, calling into his sister Antoinette from death row, 123 miles away in McAlester, オクラホマ, told the crowd, “Y’all stay safe, keep warm out there. Don’t let up.”

“He said he felt the love,” Antoinette added. “They can’t stop what’s happening.”

Supporters pray for Julius Jones, who is scheduled to be executed next month.

Faith and love is about all Julius’s supporters, and opponents of the death penalty in Oklahoma, have left at this point.

The growing “Justice for Julius” movement had hoped today would be a day of celebration.

Two decades after a shaky public defense team failed to call a single witness, including Jones himself, the 41-year-old, who was a teenager when he was arrested, was set to finally plead his case directly to authorities for the first time. The clemency hearing originally scheduled for Tuesday was his last form of legal appeal available. Only the state’s Republican governor Kevin Stitt, WHO supports capital punishment, now has the power to take him off death row.

Late Monday night, しかしながら, a federal court ruled that executions could proceed against Jones and others, despite their ongoing constitutional challenge to the state’s lethal injection protocol, which they say is so faulty and dangerous as to constitute cruel and unusual punishment. Jones’s clemency hearing has been moved to 1 11月. His execution is set for 17 数日後.

As Julius remains in limbo, the state’s execution chamber is being readied for the first time since a series of botched executions in 2014 そして 2015 killed two men with the wrong drug and nearly executed a third the same way.

ジョン・グラント, 60, a Black man who was sentenced to death for fatally stabbing a prison kitchen worker, is scheduled to be executed on Thursday with the lethal injection protocol the lawsuit is challenging.

Biden through the years: The death penalty

The state Department of Correction said on Tuesday in a ステートメント that since those botched killings, “extensive validations and redundancies have been implemented” to prevent more accidents. Oklahoma still uses the same three-drug mixture it did in 2014, which the suit argues don’t do enough to knock out inmates before they’re killed, in a feeling akin to being “burned alive.” It doesn’t disclose where it sources the chemicals it injects into inmates during their executions.

An execution is the ultimate act of finality. The dead can’t file appeals. But as the last few weeks and decades in Oklahoma have shown, the process of reaching a final decision about an execution is agonizingly slow and shockingly fast all at once.

Jones’s friends and family, as well as a growing number of supporters and high-profile advocates like キム・カーダシアン, maintain that he is innocent, the victim of a flawed police investigation reliant on biased informants, a prosecution tainted by systemic and individual racism, and an overall lust to mollify a panicked city, as well as a bumbling public defense team. The news that after two decades of fighting, Julius again wouldn’t be able to share his side of the story just yet, came as a blow to supporters.

“I was frustrated. I was hurt,” said Dionne Carruthers, ジュリアスのいとこ, as she stood among the crowd of activists wearing a “Justice for Julius” t-shirt. “I felt pain for Julius in that moment upon hearing the news because he has never been able to use his voice to speak on his own behalf, 彼自身の真実を話すために, そして聞かれること. He deserves that like every other human being to be heard, そして彼らの真実を語らせるために。」

(Julius hasn’t personally taken the stand in court since 2000, but has been recorded calling in from prison as part of various ニュース記事, 及び 最後の防衛, a widely seen 2018 ABC ドキュメンタリー produced by the actress Viola Davis.)

“I feel let down. It kind of just hurts my feelings that people can just dangle somebody’s life like that,” said Jabee Williams, a Justice for Julius organiser and friend of the Jones family. “He’s going to be human again when he gets to speak. It’s hard for a person to commit an act of anything—violence, 殺人, death—to somebody you see as human, unless they’re evil. その時点で, whenever he gets to speak, and they understand that he’s human, and that he has something to offer the world, I think that’s going to change the hearts of so many people.”

This Feb. 5, 2018, file photo provided by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections shows Julius Jones. 月曜日に, 10月. 25, 2021, a federal judge in Oklahoma said the state can move forward with scheduled lethal injections for five death row inmates, including Jones whose case and death sentence has drawn international attention. Attorneys for the inmates have promised to appeal the judge’s ruling.

After decades of making little headway, it at first seemed things had finally began picking up for Julius this fall. オン 13 9月, 2021, オクラホマ恩赦とパロール委員会が推奨 3-1 知事がジュリアスの文を通勤すること, 州史上初めて死刑囚の減刑が促された. 1か月後, a federal appeals court allowed him and other death row inmates to rejoin the constitutional lawsuit against lethal injection, a suit the previous Oklahoma attorney general, Mike Hunter, said he would allow to proceed before scheduling more executions.

Mr Hunter resigned in May amid an alleged marital scandal. The new attorney general, John O’Connor, who did not respond to 独立者’s requests for comment, has pressed forward with setting death dates.

でも今, the impending executions are a sign that despite an unprecedented effort to get Julius off of death row, it may not be enough to sway officials in Oklahoma, a state that’s executed the third most people in modern American history と持っています one of the highest Black incarceration rates in the country. Earlier in October, state officials denied John Grant’s clemency request, and if the state restarts the death penalty with his execution on Thursday, it’s a major harbinger of what’s to come, 支持者によると.

“What we learned yesterday is that the government doesn’t care,” Abe Bonowitz, director of the group Death Penalty Action, 前記. “If he is [executed], that’s the warning sign for Julius and for all of us.”Mr Bonowitz noted that in 2016, two thirds of Oklahomans voted for a constitutional amendment enshrining capital punishment, though nearly 500,000 voted against it.

“Where are those people?" 彼が追加した. “It’s our job to pull them out.”

Supporters urge Oklahoma governor Kevin Stitt to grant death row inmate Julius Jones clemency.

その間, 状態, along with Mr Howell’s family, insists that the system worked and correctly convicted Julius as the killer, a charge that was examined on numerous appeals considered by 13 別の裁判官, in courts at the local, 状態, アピール, および米国最高裁判所レベル.

“The truth is that Julius Jones murdered Paul Howell…the evidence tells an incontrovertible truth; a truth that has been reaffirmed these many years by every court which has considered the entirety of the evidence,” Attorney General O’Connor said in his office’s 簡単に submitted as part of the clemency process. “To call this a case with overwhelming evidence of guilt is an understatement”

ハウエル家, which did not respond to 独立者’s multiple requests for comment, で言った ステートメント to KFOR on Monday it was “relieved” that executions were going forward, putting to rest an increasingly publicised appeals process they feel has been hijacked by outsiders and celebrities with an agenda.

“This has been an extremely difficult process on our family and so many other homicide victims’ families,” the Howells said. “We have all waited patiently as the lengthy and thorough capital appeal process has run its course.”

Julius Jones during his 2000 murder trial.

Both the Howells and the Jones families will now, いつものように, be left waiting for closure about their loved ones.

その間, Justice for Julius advocates are trying to keep the faith in the power of his story alive.

“The state of Oklahoma may believe they own Julius, but they don’t. You can’t own something you didn’t make,” Cece Jones-Davis, one of the leaders of the group, 火曜日に言った. “God owns Julius Jones, and there’s nothing the state of Oklahoma can do to change that.”

Natasha Normand, a traveling nurse from the Oklahoma City suburb of Yukon, learned about his story after watching 最後の防衛. 今, she wears a Justice for Julius wristband and button when she works with patients across Oklahoma and Kansas.

“I’m able to share the case, share the website, share the social media, and then people are just in shock," 彼女は言いました. “It doesn’t stop with Julius. Julius isn’t the only one by far. ええと, I used to be indifferent about the death penalty, 本当に考えていない. I do feel that the death penalty needs to go away because there are too many innocent people," 彼女は付け加えた.

And the legal machinations around Julius haven’t stop either. Local officials like Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater, as well as the state attorney general, have pushed to remove two officials appointed by Governor Stitt to the state Pardon and Parole Board, which will offer a recommendation about Jones’s clemency, arguing their past criminal justice work should disqualify them from the clemency process. (They both disagree). So far the campaign to remove them has been rebuffed by the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

アントワネットジョーンズ, sister of Julius Jones, speaks to a crowd of supporters on 26 10月, 2021.

その間, 先週, a judge approved a signature-gathering campaign, the first step in a rarely-used citizen recall process seeking to remove DA Prater from office, fueled in part by his involvement in pushing for Jones’s execution.

Jones’s family is grateful for the continued public support, with his mother Madeline Davis-Jones, 告げる 独立者 that the rally on Tuesday was “beautiful,” and that she hopes Julius’s testimony, whenever it happens, is enough to move the governor, a man who speaks often of the moral guidance of his evangelical Christian faith.

“I feel like if he is the man that the people have elected him to be, he’ll do the right thing,” Ms Davis-Jones said.

Not leaving it to mercy, public defenders representing Julius and four other men have filed a last-minute appeal with the federal Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals to pause executions until a trial in the constitutional lawsuit against Oklahoma can play out, scheduled for early next year. A decision could come down as soon as Tuesday evening.

“The district court itself has acknowledged serious questions about whether Oklahoma’s execution procedures will cause prisoners unconstitutional pain and suffering. With a trial on that very question set to begin in February, executions should not go forward,” said public defender Dale Baich in a statement.

No matter what happens, the Jones family will keep praying for their son—and the Howells too. Ms Carruthers, ジュリアスのいとこ, said she understands what it’s like to be in their position.

子供の頃のジュリアス・ジョーンズ, 彼のサッカーのユニフォームを着ている間彼の妹とポーズをとる.

“We can do nothing but pray for them, and wish nothing but God’s best for them. I just pray for them daily.” she said. “They are in a very unfortunate situation as well, a tragic situation.”

Both families feel as though the public doesn’t understand the full truth. Where they diverge is defining what that full truth is, and what officials should do about it. There may never be a widely agreed upon interpretation of what happened in the 1999 murder of Paul Howell, but the state of Oklahoma will soon provide its answer, and it will be final.

独立した非営利団体 正義のための責任あるビジネスイニシアチブ (RIJ) 米国での死刑の廃止を求める共同キャンペーンを開始しました. RBIJは以上を引き付けています 150 死刑に反対するビジネスリーダー宣言の有名な署名者 – リストの最新のものとしてインディペンデントと. アリアナハフィントンのような著名な幹部に加わります, Facebookのシェリルサンドバーグ, ヴァージングループの創設者であるリチャードブランソン卿は、このイニシアチブの一環として、私たちの報道で死刑の不正を強調することを約束しています。.


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