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Oklahoma governor commutes Julius Jones' death sentence to life without parole

Gov. Kevin Stitt announced he has commuted Oklahoma death row inmate Julius Jones' sentence to life without parole.

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Gov. Kevin Stitt announced that he has commuted Oklahoma death row inmate Julius Jones' sentence to life without the possibility of parole.

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Jones was sentenced to death for the 1999 murder of Edmond businessman and father Paul Howell. The death row inmate has maintained his innocence and has garnered national attention.

Stitt's decision comes more than two weeks after the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board recommended clemency for the high-profile death row inmate. Once the board recommended clemency and commuting Jones' sentence to life with the possibility of parole, Jones' fate went into the governor's hands.

Howell's family has been vocal about Jones being the person who killed the Edmond businessman more than 20 years ago.

They said following his clemency hearing on Nov. 1 that Jones has lied about his innocence and voiced their anger with members of the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board. Howell's family added that they felt the board's votes stemmed from the anti-death penalty movement.

Howell's daughter spoke with sister station KOCO in October, saying a lot of misinformation had spread about Jones and the case.

Oklahoma resumed conducting executions for the first time since 2015 in October when it put John Grant to death. Jones was scheduled to be executed Thursday afternoon.