Julius Jones was sentenced to death in 2002 for killing a businessman but his case has gained new interest after Kim Kardashian publicly supported him and his claimed innocence. Here are five things about him.
Julius Jones, 40, has been on everyone’s radar in the past few months despite being convicted of killing 45-year-old businessman Paul Howell 21 years ago and it’s all because of Kim Kardashian, 40. The lawyer-in-training took to Twitter on Mar. 1 to share an article from The Frontier about the Oklahoma prisoner’s story, including his claimed innocence, and told her followers that the “real killer” is “free.”
“Please read this story from @readfrontier. The state of Oklahoma has compelling evidence that Julius Jones is innocent of murder. Meanwhile, the real killer is free and openly bragging about killing a man and framing Julius,” she wrote in the caption of her tweet.
Please read this story from @readfrontier. The state of Oklahoma has compelling evidence that Julius Jones is innocent of murder. Meanwhile, the real killer is free and openly bragging about killing a man and framing Julius. https://t.co/nw6MLx2Sa9
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) March 1, 2021
Here are five things you should know about Julius’ case and Kim’s support.
Julius was a 19-year-old student when the murder took place.
He was attending the University of Oklahoma and on the verge of getting a basketball scholarship when he became the prime suspect in the shooting of Howell, according to OU Daily. He was arrested in Aug. 1999 and later convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death in 2002, when he was only 22-years-old. Since then, he’s been in prison and continues to claim his innocence while awaiting his fate.
Why is Julius on death row?
Before Julius was arrested and charged, Howell was shot in his 1997 GMC Suburban in Edmond, OK less than 20 miles away from Julius’ home. Powell’s sister described the shooter as “a black man wearing a stocking cap” with “half an inch of hair hanging out,” Julius’ attorney Dale Baich told OU Daily. Three suspects were interviewed and their statements led Edmond Police to track down Julius and his high school basketball teammate Christopher Jordan as the alleged carjackers who murdered Powell.
Although there was reportedly a lack of evidence to directly connect Julius to the killing, he was still sentenced to death row and 40 years in prison. He was the state’s key witness against him and his attorney has said that he was targeted by “self-proclaimed car thugs and a gang member.”
“We have serious concerns by the way the evidence was collected, handled and stored,” Baich said.
What happened to Julius’ co-defendant, Christopher Jordan?
Christopher was supposed to spend 30 years in prison in exchange for his testimony after an agreement was made, but he ended up walking free after serving only half that time, according to JusticeForJuliusJones.com. “In this way and many others, Mr. Jones’ rights under the state and federal constitutions have been violated and his conviction and death sentence should be overturned,” the website reads.
Christopher also admitted to killing Howell and letting Julius take the blame during his time in prison, according to an inmate named Roderick Wesley, who served in an Arkansas prison with Christopher, The Frontier reported. Roderick sent a series of letters and and video interviews about the admission to Julius’ attorneys, who are trying to free Julius or at least get him off of death row.
When did Kim Kardashian get involved in Julius’ case?
Kim first mentioned Julius’ case and the petition for his release on Twitter in 2019. A year later, in Nov. 2020, she visited Julius at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. She took to Instagram to share photos of the Oklahoma visit and let her followers know that in addition to seeing Julius, she spoke with his mother Madeline and his family at a Baptist church on the same day.
“I was honored to sit with Julius Jones on death row in Oklahoma last week and then spend some time at church with his family,” she wrote in the caption for the photos. “Julius has been incarcerated for over 21 years for a crime he did not commit. The affects that this has had on his family is really unimaginable and I pray the parole board recommends his commutation because this man needs to be able to hug his parents again. #JusticeForJulius”
“The last time Julius’s parents hugged him was when he was 19. That was 21 years ago,” she continued. “Julius Jones mother @madelinejones48 should be able to hug her son. She’s so strong and her faith and strength is so inspirational. We will not give up the fight to free Julius Jones!”
“Julius broke down in tears when he spoke of his sister Antoinette @sassysoulinc, he promised her he would take her to prom and because of wrongful conviction he was unable to take her!” she added. “We need to get him out and plan the best prom ever!!! I’m so thankful for the most supportive freedom fighters for Julius Jones. We won’t stop until we get justice.”
What has Julius done to try and get clemency?
Julius filed for clemency in Oct. 2019 after trying every option to fight the death penalty. “As God is my witness, I was not involved in any way in the crimes that led to Paul Howell being shot and killed,” his clemency report said, which was reported by OU Daily. “I have spent the past 20 years on death row for a crime I did not commit, did not witness and was not at.”