Death-row inmate Julius Jones’ stage two commutation hearing will take place under new rules to give the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board additional time to consider his case.
The board voted Monday to make Jones’ stage-two hearing an "enhanced" review. Jones’ delegates, the district attorney’s office and victims’ representatives will get 30 minutes each. When they voted in March to advance Jones’ application, enhanced review didn’t exist.
"In the future, at stage one, we would have a vote as to whether or not an individual would move into an enhanced stage two hearing. This administrative rule was not in place when we voted for advancing this case to stage two," Pardon and Parole Board Chair Adam Luck said.
A June hearing in Jones’ case was delayed as the board came up with the enhanced review process. Luck said all parties were consulted about how much time they would like to present in September.
"So, that will be 30 minutes for the victims and representatives, 30 minutes for the district attorney's office, and then 30 minutes for the individual and their representation as well," Luck said.
In a statement, Jones’ attorney, Dale Baich said they look forward to presenting the case for Jones’ innocence.
"The evidence, which was not presented at trial, includes photographic evidence that Julius did not match the eyewitness description of the killer and sworn affidavits as well as video testimony that the real killer has openly and brazenly confessed his guilt on multiple occasions to multiple people," Baich said.
Jones was convicted of the murder of Edmond businessman Paul Howell but has maintained his innocence. Jones' legal team has argued his defense was poor and the trial was tainted by racism, and celebrity advocates have taken notice of his case.