Julius Jones Will “Fight Another Day” — Death Sentence Commuted

On Thursday, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) commuted the sentence of Julius Jones, a Black man on death row for a murder that all available evidence suggests he didn’t actually commit.

“After prayerful consideration and reviewing materials presented by all sides of this case, I have determined to commute Julius Jones’ sentence to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole,” Stitt wrote in a tweet announcing his decision.

This announcement was made just hours prior to Jones’ execution. After hearing the news, activists gathered at the state capitol building to demand action by the governor burst into cheers.

Stitt lessened Jones’s sentence from death to life in prison Without the possibility of parole. Although the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board had recommended that Jones’s sentence be commuted to life with The possibility of parole Stitt cited the Oklahoma state constitutionAccording to, a governor may only lessen a death sentence to life without parole.

Life without parole It is an indictment of death.A person being held in a prison cell until they die. This can often happen despite evidence to the contrary. Political scientist Marie Gottschalk has described life without parole as “death in slow motion,” and Pope Francis has likened it to “a death penalty in disguise.”

Advocates for Jones’s commutation said that their work was far from over, but celebrated the victory of ensuring Jones wouldn’t be executed on Thursday.

Jones “will not be executed today,” author and activist Brittney Cooper said on Twitter. “And though I hope he will be free someday, we take all wins today.”

Julius Jones will live to fight another day,” Temple University media studies professor Marc Lamont Hill said, adding that the commutation from the governor was only possible because “The People fought back.”

“The People are the heroes here. Not Governor Stitt,” he added.

According to reporting from The New York TimesOn Wednesday, more than 1,800 students in 13 Oklahoma schools participated in walkouts as a show of solidarity with Jones.

Jones was convicted for a 1999 murder. He spent nearly two decades behind bars. He has always maintained his innocence. Another man, who was not charged with Jones’ murder, has publicly admitted to it and claimed that Jones was his accomplice.

Discrepancies in the case have demonstrated Jones was convicted too hastily and without consideration of important evidence proving his innocence — including the fact that the lone witness to the crime The murderer was described as having a particular hairstyleJones was clean-shaven back then.

In the United States, death sentences are largely determined by race. Black Americans make up the majority of those sentenced to death. disproportionate numberof those on death row in Oklahoma and across America. It’s also far more likelyIf the victim was white, a murder conviction will result in execution.