Lawmakers inside the Oklahoma State Capitol building began their morning with the soft sound of beating drums and a native voice permeating the air outside their offices.
A group from Oklahoma conducted what appeared to be an Indigenous prayer song around 7 a.m. Tuesday outside the State Capitol building, as Governor Kevin Stitt is two days away from the murder of death row inmate Julius Jones .
Maintaining his innocence for more than two decades after the 1999 murder of Edmond Paul Howell businessman, Jones received two recommendations for a sentence commuted to life with the possibility of parole from the Commission pardons and state parole.
Nevertheless, Governor Stitt remained silent. Now, the state is approaching 48 hours before the execution scheduled for Thursday, November 18.
Madeline Davis-Jones delivered a letter to the governor’s office on Monday with the support of the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus. After waiting three hours to speak with the governor, an aide for the governor came out instead, telling the Davis-Jones that there would be no meeting.
“We often hear that Julius’ death sentence is about ‘justice’ or ‘enclosure’. This cannot be true, however, as we know Mr. Howell’s real killer is still out there, ”Davis-Jones wrote in his letter to Governor Stitt. “Nothing is ‘fair’ about our boy’s execution. His death will not provide a closure or a healing. Only the truth can do it.
With the world watching, including the more than 6 million people across the country who signed a petition in favor of Jones, supporters are calling on people to calmly and respectfully come to the Capitol from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to pressure lawmakers to support leniency for Julius Jones.
Brandon Kirkpatrick and his daughter received a letter from Julius Jones. In a live interview with The Black Wall Street Times reporter Nate Morris on Tuesday, Kirkpatrick said his daughter’s church had organized a letter-writing campaign to Julius Jones, and he responded.
“And there aren’t just 4 or 5 letters, there are probably 30 or more letters that are here,” said Kirkpatrick, standing outside the governor’s office. “He spent time individually reaching out to these children. And it wasn’t fair like hey thanks for writing to me. He was detailed with that and really tried to make an impact on their life. Because that’s exactly who Julius is.
Although the state’s top prosecutors spent months trying to obstruct his fair court proceedings before the Pardons and Parole Board, Julius Jones used his last moments to address the board to express his concerns. prayers to the Howell family and hope to become a mentor for at-risk youth.
“I pray for the opportunity to continue to do so as an active member of society and hopefully one day as a free man. Thank you to this Pardons and Parole Board. Thank you to everyone who took the time to fully listen to my story. It is all those near and far who have supported me over the years. And my sincere prayers always go out to the Howell family. Jones said on November 1, 2021, after the board voted 3-1 for a recommendation for leniency.
Meanwhile, as people from across the state and country gather at the State Capitol, the new Oklahoma National Guard chief has assured Julius Jones supporters that their right to assemble peacefully. would be respected.
In the hallway outside the governor’s office, Adjutant General Thomas H. Mancino reminded those gathered that “peaceful protest is a constitutional right” and “that right would be protected”.
For those who cannot physically make it to Capitol Hill, supporters are asking people to contact their lawmakers. To find your legislator, Click here.
(BWSTimes reporter Nate Morris contributed to this report.)
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