Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has spared Jones’s life
Kim Kardashian West has revealed she spoke to Julius Jones ahead of his planned execution, hours before his death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.
Ms Kardashian West, who has been an outspoken advocate for criminal justice reform, shared a statement on Thursday (18 November) shortly after news of the commutation broke.
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt moved to spare Jones’ life just hours before he was scheduled to be executed.
Ms Kardashian West said on Twitter that she had spent most of the previous day on the phone with Jones.
“While I was on the phone with him somebody came in the room to try to give him his anti-anxiety meds that you usually are forced to take before you are executed so that you can be more calm about the fact that you are about to be executed,” she wrote.
“However Julius refused because he said he has a clear conscience and that gives him peace knowing he is innocent and did not want to be drugged up.”
Ms Kardashian West said her phone calls with Jones took place in between his meetings with his lawyer and visits from his relatives, which “still are not contact visits”.
“He cannot still hug his family members before being executed,” she noted. “He hasn’t in over 20 years.”
Ms Kardashian West said Jones “also wanted [her] to pass a few messages along that were really important to him”.
“The most important is that you have to always make sure you are doing the right thing. Julius was hanging out with the wrong crowd and that landed him in the position he’s in today,” she shared.
“He said if you are doing something your mom wouldn’t approve of then you shouldn’t be doing it. It’s that simple!”
She thanked Mr Stitt and the parole board for commuting Jones’ sentence, adding: “I’m so grateful to everyone who used their voice and helped to save Julius’s life today.”
Jones, 41, had been scheduled for execution at 4pm on Thursday (18 November). His case has attracted growing attention over the years, as well as protests highlighting doubts in his case.
Jones was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to die for the 1999 shooting death of Paul Howell, a businessman from the Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond, during a carjacking.
Jones alleges he was framed by the actual killer, a high school friend and former co-defendant who was a key witness against him.
The profile of Jones’s case grew significantly after it was featured in The Last Defense, a three-episode documentary produced by actress Viola Davis that aired on ABC in 2018. Professional athletes with Oklahoma ties, including NBA stars Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin, and Trae Young, had urged Stitt to commute Jones’s death sentence and spare his life.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
The Independent and the nonprofit Responsible Business Initiative for Justice (RBIJ) have launched a joint campaign calling for an end to death penalty in the US. The RBIJ has attracted more than 150 well-known signatories to their Business Leaders Declaration Against the Death Penalty – with The Independent as the latest on the list. We join high-profile executives like Ariana Huffington, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, and Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson as part of this initiative and are making a pledge to highlight the injustices of the death penalty in our coverage.