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OKLAHOMA (USA): GOVERNOR GRANTS CLEMENCY, SPARES JULIUS JONES’ LIFE

November 21, 2021:

Oklahoma’s governor spared the life of Julius Jones on 18 November 2021, just hours before his scheduled execution that had drawn widespread outcry and protests over doubts about his guilt in the slaying of a businessman more than 20 years ago.
Gov. Kevin Stitt commuted the 41-year-old Jones’ death sentence to life imprisonment. He had been scheduled for execution at 4 p.m.
“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 news release.
A crowd of Jones’ supporters at the Oklahoma Capitol broke out into loud applause and cheers when the decision was announced shortly after noon, and more than 100 supporters who had gathered outside the prison in McAlester erupted in cheers.
Earlier 18 November, Jones’ attorneys filed a last-minute emergency request seeking a temporary stop to his execution, saying Oklahoma’s lethal injection procedures pose a “serious and substantial risk of severe suffering and pain to prisoners.” The lawyers cited last month’s execution in which John Marion Grant convulsed and vomited as he was put to death.
Oklahoma’s methods for capital punishment have been a concern for years. Just 17 November, in a separate death row case, the state’s Pardon and Parole Board voted 3-2 to grant clemency, citing lethal injection protocols.
Earlier this month, that same board also recommended in a 3-1 vote that Stitt commute Jones’ sentence to life in prison with the possibility of parole. Several panel members said they doubted the evidence that led to his conviction.
Jones’ looming execution — and Stitt’s silence on his decision — prompted high school students across Oklahoma City to walk out of their classes 17 November, and protests had been planned 18 November in Los Angeles; Washington; Newark, New Jersey; and Saint Paul, Minnesota. Prayer vigils were held at the Oklahoma state Capitol, and barricades were erected outside the governor’s mansion.
Jones was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to die for the 1999 shooting death of Paul Howell, a businessman from the Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond, during a carjacking.
The profile of Jones’ case grew significantly after it was featured in “The Last Defense,” a three-episode documentary produced by Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis that aired on ABC in 2018. After that, reality television star Kim Kardashian West and other professional athletes with Oklahoma ties, including NBA stars Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin and Trae Young, and NFL quarterback Baker Mayfield, urged Stitt to commute Jones’ death sentence and spare his life.
Jones alleges he was framed by the actual killer, a high school friend and co-defendant who was a key witness against him. He and his family maintain he was at home the night of Howell’s murder, eating dinner and playing games with his siblings, and that the jury was never heard this information at trial.
But Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater and the state’s former attorney general, Mike Hunter, have said the evidence against Jones is overwhelming. Oklahoma’s current attorney general, John O’Connor, said 18 November that he respected Stitt’s decision to commute the sentence but that he remained convinced of Jones’ guilt.
Last month, Oklahoma ended a six-year moratorium on executions brought on by concerns over its lethal injection methods. Grant, 60, convulsed and vomited as he was being put to death 28 October.
He was the first person in Oklahoma to be executed since a series of flawed lethal injections in 2014 and 2015.

(Source: AP, 18/11/2021)

MALAYSIA: BANGLADESHI STUDENT ESCAPES DEATH PENALTY FOR CANNABIS TRAFFICKING
SUDAN: MAN SENTENCED TO DEATH IN DARFUR FOR RAPING 8-YEAR-OLD GIRL
IRAQ: DEFENDANT SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR TERRORISM IN NAJAF
BANGLADESH: 5 SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR 2013 MURDER OF TEEN EASY BIKE DRIVER IN GOPALGANJ
EGYPT: CASSATION COURT UPHOLDS DEATH PENALTY FOR 22 OVER KILLING POLICE OFFICER, CONDUCTING 54 TERROR ATTACKS
LIBYA: MISURATA’S MILITARY COURT SENTENCING HAFTAR TO DEATH
IRAN - Ebrahim Narouyi executed in Mashhad on November 28
IRAN - Majid Sargolzayi executed in Zahedan on November 27
INDIA: MUMBAI'S HIGH COURT COMMUTES DEATH SENTENCES IN RAPE CASE
IRAN - Abdolsattar Shehbakhsh and Khan Mohmmad Rahmatzehi executed in Kerman on November 25
PAKISTAN: MAN RECEIVES DEATH PENALTY FOR RAPING DAUGHTER
IRAN - Heidar Ghaljayi executed Kerman Central Prison on November 25
IRAN - A woman, Maryam Khakpour, executed in Isfahan Central Prison on November 25
BANGLADESH: APEX COURT UPHOLDS DEATH PENALTY OF JMB MILITANT SALEHIN
IRAN - Mohammad Safari executed in Rajai Shahr Prison on November 24
IRAN - Juvenile Offender Arman Abdolali Buried in Tehran
IRAN - Juvenile offender Arman Abdolali executed
NORTH KOREAN SENTENCED TO DEATH AFTER STUDENTS CAUGHT WATCHING SQUID GAME
SOMALIA: PUNTLAND COURT SENTENCES TWO AL-SHABAAB FIGHTERS TO DEATH FOR BOSSASO PRISON ATTACK
PAKISTAN: CHRISTIAN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR BLASPHEMY ACQUITTED
IRAN - Unnamed couple executed in Yasuj
IRAN - Over 9700 girls 10-14 married in Iran in spring 2021
YEMEN: RAY OF HOPE FOR KERALITE NIMISHA PRIYA DEATH ROW
MISSISSIPPI (USA): DAVID COX EXECUTED
MALAYSIA: 2 SENTENCED TO DEATH FREED OVER IDENTITY DOUBTS
IRAN - Mostafa Pourahmad and Mojtaba Bagheri executed in Rasht on November 18
VIETNAM: TWO EX-CONVICTS SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING
NIGERIA: MAN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR KILLING HIS FATHER IN AKWA IBOM
INDIA: UTTAR PRADESH MAN TO BE HANGED FOR KILLING HIS 3 DAUGHTERS
IRAN - Shamsedin Ghaljayi executed in Kerman on November 18

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