‘Julius Jones forever changed our lives’: Family of murdered man react to death sentence being commuted

Paul Howell’s family thanked the ‘tireless efforts’ of law enforcement

Bevan Hurley
Thursday 18 November 2021 20:40
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Crowd cheers as Julius Jones’ life spared hours before execution

The family of the man that Julius Jones was convicted of murdering says the family are taking comfort from the fact he will never be released from prison.

Paul Howell’s daughter Rachel, who witnessed her father’s 1999 murder as a young child, issued a statement on behalf of his surviving family after Jones’ execution was commuted on Thursday a few hours before he was due to be put to death.

The family thanked law enforcement, the Oklahoma Attorney General and the county district attorney’s office for their “tireless efforts and unwavering support for the last 22 years”.

“We take comfort that his decision affirmed the guilt of Julius Jones and that he shall not be eligible to apply for, or be considered for, a commutation, pardon or parole for the remainder of his life,” the statement said.

They acknowledged the “difficult decision” Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt had to make.

“We wish to thank our friends, supporters and advocates whose words, thoughts and prayers have kept us strong throughout this ordeal.

“Julius Jones forever changed our lives and the lives of his family and friends,” it said.

Jones’ execution was commuted after a public campaign supported by legal advocates, celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield.

Jones has always maintained his innocence, and his family have vowed to continue to push for a full exoneration.

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.

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