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Exonerees plead for clemency for Julius Jones at press conference

Oklahoma City Fox 25: Death row exonerees pleading for justice for Julius Jones

By: Payton May

September 1, 2021

Oklahoma City, OK (KOKH) — A group of wrongfully convicted death row exonerees are speaking out in support of Julius Jones.

Jones is on death row in Oklahoma City, and was convicted of murdering Edmond businessman Paul Howell in 1999.

Three men who were sentenced to death for murder and were later found innocent are using their voices to challenge the justice system.

Juan Melendez says his story has similarities to Jones’s.

"I spent seventeen years, eight months and one day on death row for a crime I did not commit,” Melendez said. “When I was released, I felt born again. I thank God every day that when I wake up, I'm alive.”

Witness to Innocence is an organization that supports death row exonerees. Part of their mission right now is fighting for Jones to have a fair hearing.

"There's no way this man got a fair trial,” Gary Drinkard, who spent nearly six years on death row said. “He at least needs a commutation hearing. Please, please we beg you."

Herman Lindsey is another advocate for Jones that is no stranger to the legal process for capital punishment.

"How can you sleep at night when you are going to make a decision that is so iffy, and you decide to sit here and execute this person?” Lindsey said.

The organization brought a letter to Governor Stitt's office, asking to correct what they say are mistakes in Jones’s conviction.

Lindsey said after he spent three years on death row, he's lived those mistakes.

"The problem comes in when these people that have the power to correct this mistake don't take the responsibility and try to correct the mistake,” Lindsey said.

Many in the community are pleading for another look at this case, because a life is on the line.

"Put your pride down and say, ‘I'm not going to worry about my reputation.’ Because guess what? Your reputation will be greater if you find out this person was innocent, and you saved his life,” Lindsey said.

Witness to Innocence also held a service at Oklahoma City First Church of the Nazarene to share their stories.


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