Death penalty overturned four hours before execution in Oklahoma

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Oklahoma City. Four hours before his death sentence was to be executed, the American Julius Jones has had his sentence overturned.

The state of Oklahoma’s governor, Republican Kevin Stitt, on Thursday overturned the death penalty to life in prison.

– After prayerful deliberations and review of material from all sides of the case, I have decided to overturn Julius Jones’ sentence to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, says the governor.

41-year-old Julius Jones has been convicted of murder during a car theft in 1999. Here he shot insurer Paul Howell.

He should have been executed at 23 Danish time by lethal injection.

The reversal comes after Oklahoma’s pardon and probation board voted for him to have life in prison instead.

However, Jones’ lawyers also believe they can prove he has an alibi at the time of the crime. He was reportedly at home with his parents, which his lawyers did not investigate.

The case has also attracted the attention of, among others, reality star and businesswoman Kim Kardashian West, who has fought Julius Jones’ case.

– Many thanks to Governor Stitt for overturning Julius Jones’ sentence to life in prison and for stopping his execution, writes Kim Kardashian West on Twitter.

She further writes that she “spent most of Wednesday talking on the phone with Julius”.

According to the BBC, more than six million people have signed a petition entitled “Justice for Julius”.

Jones himself declared his innocence in a letter to the probation board in April.

“I did not kill Mr Howell,” he wrote, according to the BBC.

– I did not participate in any way in his murder, and the first time I saw him was on TV when his death was reported.

The family of Paul Howell remains in no doubt that Julius Jones killed their family member.

“We take comfort in the fact that his (Governor Kevin Stitt, ed.) Decision confirms that Julius Jones is guilty and that he will not have the opportunity for further annulment, pardon or parole for the rest of his life,” the family said in a statement.

/ ritzau / Reuters

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