Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has spared the life of high-profile death row inmate Julius Jones.
Following a recommendation from the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board, Stitt on Thursday granted clemency to Jones, reducing the inmate’s sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
“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,” Stitt said in a statement.
As a condition of granting clemency, Stitt ordered that Jones shall never be eligible to apply for or be considered for a commutation, pardon, or parole for the rest of his life.
Stitt’s decision veers from the Pardon and Parole Board’s recommendation to reduce Jones’ sentence to life in prison with the possibility of parole. Under that scenario, Jones would have immediately been eligible for parole on his murder conviction.
The governor’s decision means Jones’ execution, set for Thursday, is cancelled. Stitt announced his decision mere hours before the scheduled start of the execution.
Stitt’s decision to grant clemency marks a partial win for a diverse group of Jones activists and supporters who have proclaimed the inmate was wrongfully convicted in the murder of an Edmond man. Jones has spent nearly 20 years on death row.