Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has granted clemency to Julius Jones, who was set to be executed on Thursday for the 1999 murder of Paul Howell, according to Axios.

  • Stitt made a statement four hours before the execution: “After prayerful consideration and reviewing materials presented by all sides of this case, I have determined to commute Julius Jones’ sentence to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.”

Jones was a 19-year old student at the University of Oklahoma when he was charged for the death of Howell, per NBC News.

  • According to the report, Howell, an insurance executive, was shot in the driveway of his parents’ home in Edmond.
  • Jones has vocalized his innocence, saying he was set up by the actual shooter.
  • Parole board member Rochard Smothermon, a former prosecutor, does not believe that Jones is innocent. “To believe in Mr. Jones’ theory of the case, you have to disbelieve every other piece of evidence in the case,” whether it's physical evidence or testimonial, according to NBC News.
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The physical evidence in question is a red bandana, wrapped around the murder weapon, a handgun, according to The Associated Press. Jones’ DNA was traced on the bandana, though Jones has said that it was planted by the actual shooter.

This case has received traction over the recent years.