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Matt Schlapp in The Oklahoman: DA Prater ‘is weaponizing the justice system for his own ends’

In the News

Julius Jones has been on death row for nearly two decades. He was convicted of killing someone during the course of a carjacking. Jones has long maintained his innocence, and there are real questions about his conviction. Supporters note that Jones’ attorneys failed to put on a meaningful defense. They neglected to call witnesses who would have testified to Jones’ alibi. Other issues include witnesses who said the triggerman had longish hair. (Jones’ head was shaved at the time.) Most problematic is that the star witness at Jones’ trial later admitted to three different cellmates that he, and not Jones, pulled the trigger. It is no coincidence that the witness cut a plea deal with the district attorney to avoid the death penalty himself by pointing the finger at Jones.

Based on this information, the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board was leaning toward recommending that the governor grant Jones’ petition for clemency (life in prison rather than a death sentence). So District Attorney David Prater decided to take matters into his own hands. He filed an unprecedented suit against two board members who voiced concerns about executing an innocent man. His claim? That Adam Luck and Kelly Doyle had conflicts of interest because of ties they both have to a nonprofit that helps people find jobs after leaving prison. If Prater could knock Luck and Doyle out, he would have a much better chance to shut down the parole board and send Jones to the death chamber.

Read the letter to Governor Stitt regarding Clemency for Julis Jones.

Read the full article at Oklahoman.com

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