As Oklahoma prepares to execute Julius Jones, the man convicted of killing businessman Paul Howell, Kim Kardashian continues to fight to save his life. Here’s what we know.
“I want to give u all an update on Julius Jones,” tweeted Kim Kardashian on Tuesday (Nov. 16), two days before Jones’s scheduled execution date. The 40-year-old Julius was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1999 killing of businessman Paul Howell, a crime Jones said he didn’t commit. Kim, 41, has been one of the many fighting to save him from death row, and she told her followers that they’re “all anxiously awaiting a decision from Governor [Kevin] Stitt.”
“He can choose to accept the recommendation (for a 2nd time) from the Parole Board, to grant Julius Clemency/Life w. the possibility of parole or have him executed Thursday the 18th,” tweeted Kim. “Julius, his family, and everyone on his team are still hopeful Stitt will do the right thing. Today Julius’ family and close friends received invites to his execution. I can’t even imagine how they all must be feeling right now.”
Kim, who brought nationwide attention to Julius’ case in March, detailed “what the process of the execution is like in Oklahoma.” After going through the details, Kim concluded that “At 9 pm the day before his execution, #JuliusJones phone privileges will be terminated, and he will receive his last meal. He will be checked on every 15 minutes for the last four hours of his life. Then, he will be put to death… In just over two [days], an innocent man could be put to death. My heart breaks for Julius and so many others who have suffered from such tragic miscarriage of justice.”
Here are five things you should know about Julius’ case and Kim’s support.
Julius was a 19-year-old student when the murder took place.
He was attending the University of Oklahoma and on the verge of getting a basketball scholarship when he became the prime suspect in the shooting of Howell, according to OU Daily. He was arrested in Aug. 1999 and later convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death in 2002, when he was only 22-years-old. Since then, he’s been in prison and continues to claim his innocence while awaiting his fate.
Why is Julius on death row?
Before Julius was arrested and charged, Howell was shot in his 1997 GMC Suburban in Edmond, OK, less than 20 miles away from Julius’ home. Powell’s sister described the shooter as “a black man wearing a stocking cap” with “half an inch of hair hanging out,” Julius’ attorney Dale Baich told OU Daily. Three suspects were interviewed, and their statements led Edmond Police to track down Julius and his high school basketball teammate Christopher Jordan as the alleged carjackers who murdered Powell.
Although there was reportedly a lack of evidence to directly connect Julius to the killing, he was still sentenced to death row and 40 years in prison. He was the state’s key witness against him and his attorney has said that he was targeted by “self-proclaimed car thugs and a gang member.”
“We have serious concerns by the way the evidence was collected, handled, and stored,” Baich said.
What happened to Julius’ co-defendant, Christopher Jordan?
Christopher was supposed to spend 30 years in prison in exchange for his testimony after an agreement was made, but he ended up walking free after serving only half that time, according to 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 website reads.
Christopher also admitted to killing Howell and letting Julius take the blame during his time in prison, according to an inmate named Roderick Wesley, who served in an Arkansas prison with Christopher, The Frontier reported. Roderick sent a series of letters and video interviews about the admission to Julius’ attorneys, who are trying to free Julius or at least get him off of death row.
When did Kim Kardashian get involved in Julius’ case?
Kim first mentioned Julius’ case and the petition for his release on Twitter in 2019. A year later, in Nov. 2020, she visited Julius at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. She took to Instagram to share photos of the Oklahoma visit and let her followers know that in addition to seeing Julius, she spoke with his mother, Madeline, and his family at a Baptist church on the same day.
“I was honored to sit with Julius Jones on death row in Oklahoma last week and then spend some time at church with his family,” she wrote in the caption for the photos. “Julius has been incarcerated for over 21 years for a crime he did not commit. The [effects] that this has had on his family is really unimaginable, and I pray the parole board recommends his commutation because this man needs to be able to hug his parents again. #JusticeForJulius”
“The last time Julius’s parents hugged him was when he was 19. That was 21 years ago,” she continued. “Julius Jones mother @madelinejones48 should be able to hug her son. She’s so strong, and her faith and strength is so inspirational. We will not give up the fight to free Julius Jones!”
“Julius broke down in tears when he spoke of his sister Antoinette @sassysoulinc, he promised her he would take her to prom, and because of wrongful conviction he was unable to take her!” she added. “We need to get him out and plan the best prom ever!!! I’m so thankful for the most supportive freedom fighters for Julius Jones. We won’t stop until we get justice.”
What has Julius done to try and get clemency?
Julius filed for clemency in Oct. 2019 after trying every option to fight the death penalty. “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, which was reported by OU Daily. “I have spent the past 20 years on death row for a crime I did not commit, did not witness and was not at.”