Saying someone must advocate for the family of Paul Howell, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter released on Monday a 12-page summary to outline what he says is "overwhelming" evidence of guilt for Julius Jones, a Black man on death row 20 years for a crime he and advocates say he didn’t commit.
Acting on a request for an opinion, Hunter told the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board last week it may consider Jones’ commutation application. He said his office has heard from celebrities interested in Jones’ case.
Hunter maintains credible witnesses and DNA evidence put Howell’s 1999 death on Jones.
"So, I’m sure he’s a very different person now than he was back then, and that’s important, but there’s still a debt to society," Hunter said.
Jones' attorneys say his trial was tainted by racial discrimination. Hunter said racial bias claims were addressed at trial.
"Not trying to question anybody’s heart. You know, we’ve heard from a lot of celebrities. I know that they believe they’re doing the right thing based on what they’ve been told. I’m just not sure that they’ve been told the right thing consistently," Hunter said.
Jones’ case has been covered in a Viola Davis docu-series and discussed on a wrongful conviction podcast.