Advocates in Oklahoma are rallying outside the barricaded governor’s mansion ahead of the planned Thursday execution of prisoner Julius Jones, who was convicted of a 1999 murder but has maintained his innocence. Another man privately admitted to committing the murder and framing Jones, and Oklahoma’s Pardon and Parole Board has recommended twice that his death sentence be commuted to life in prison with the possibility of parole but the final decision now rests with Governor Kevin Stitt. “There should be no doubt that Julius Jones is innocent,” says longtime death penalty opponent Ben Jealous, president of People for the American Way and former president of the NAACP.
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AMY GOODMAN: Ben Jealous, who is most likely to face arrest today, was my first question. I also wanted to ask about Oklahoma’s current situation. Advocates have been rallying outside the barricaded governor’s mansion ahead of the planned Thursday execution of prisoner Julius Jones who was convicted of a 1999 murder but has maintained his innocence. Christopher Jordan, another man has privately confessed to the murder of Jones and his framing. That’s according to three people who were jailed with Jordan who served 15 years after reaching a plea deal in the case. Oklahoma’s Pardon and Parole Board has recommended Double that Julius Jones’ death sentence be commuted to life in prison with the possibility of parole, but the final decision now rests with Governor Kevin Stitt.
You have been an anti-death penalty activist for many years. You stood outside the execution of Troy Anthony Davis, a prisoner who spent half his life in death row and was finally executed in Georgia. What are your thoughts about what might happen tomorrow?
BEN JEALOUS: This is a terrible injustice. The one eyewitness described a man with an an inch and a half of hair and Julius’ head was clean-shaven. Julius had an excuse. He was having dinner with his family at that time. It was not. Bill Macy, the prosecution in the case, was dressed as Colonel Sanders before going to court every day. He was also known to bring firearms into court. A third of his death penalty trials were overturned by prosecutorial misconduct. This has resulted in many innocent people being sent to death row. There is no doubt that Julius Jones was innocent. That is frankly substantiated by the fact that it wasn’t just that they voted to recommend to the governor that this execution be stayed, they did so three to one in the state of Oklahoma, which quite frankly is a state that’s generally a fan of the death penalty. This case is one that should not be debated. They must stop execution and, frankly, they must reopen the case.
AMY GOODMAN: We are so grateful for your presence, Ben Jealous (President of People for the American Way), former president of the NAACPToday, he headed to the White House. A demonstration for voting rights is expected to result in around 100 arrests. We are grateful for your support.