COMMENTARY: Bandana DNA evidence inconclusive – Fight over Julius Jones’ innocence continues
Published: November 1st, 2018
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – In a news story published Wednesday (October 31) on page one of The Oklahoman, reporter Nolan Clay presented some analysis of DNA results in one of the most controversial death penalty cases in state history.
Clay wrote that results show “A forensics lab in Virginia reported Monday that the DNA from a stain on the red bandanna worn by the killer ‘matches’” the DNA of Julius Darius Jones, who is now sitting on death row. The report, which circulated late Tuesday afternoon, also concludes “The partial DNA profile obtained from [the] sample is consistent with a mixture of three or more individuals.”
Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater was quoted, in Clay’s story
(https://newsok.com/article/5613472/dna-testing-further-incriminates-oklahoma-death-row-inmate-who-claims-innocence) asserting, the new information “corroborates the jury’s verdict and exonerates the investigators, prosecutors and jurors who the murderer’s defenders have slandered. Those defending the murderer have disseminated misinformation and lies regarding the trial and evidence in this case. We have never been afraid of the truth.”
The results call into question whether the bandana found in the home was even the bandana worn by the shooter. In that case, without saliva being on it, the bandana can no longer be linked to the crime.
If the state of Oklahoma seeks the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, it’s time to take another deep breath and continue the search for the full story about an awful murder.
Dale Baich, Assistant Federal Public defender, District of Arizona, and member of the Jones legal team, described as inconclusive results from that now-infamous red bandana, which was never tested during the prosecution, 19 years ago, of Julius Darius Jones.
Baich provided the following statement to The City Sentinel:
“The final report shows that the bandana was not worn over the mouth of the shooter because there is no saliva on the sample. However, there are numerous profiles on the bandana and the experts need to take a close and careful look at these results. The testing cannot tell us when DNA was deposited on the bandana, which is why we cannot draw any conclusions when there are profiles of three or more individuals.
“Additionally, the final report showed that the DNA sample of Mr. Jones’ co-defendant Chris Jordan yielded only a partial profile that could not be compared to the three or more other profiles located on the bandana.
“While no one can draw any final conclusions at this stage, we do know that Julius Jones’s trial was tainted by racial bias and there is overwhelming doubt about the fairness and reliability of the conviction and death sentence. We have always known that Mr. Jones’ DNA could be on the bandana because his DNA was present in his parents’ home where the red bandana was planted.
“At trial, the prosecution did not object when the defense said Mr. Jordan admitted hiding the gun in Mr. Jones’ parents’ home.”
Baich continued, “These facts about Mr. Jones’ case are incontrovertible: several eyewitnesses place Mr. Jones at his parents’ home at the time of the murder; Mr. Jones’ co-defendant matched the only eyewitness description (https://drive.google.com/file/d/1RmUMPo51K-pzSFCQFGM7IY34OPfZzLjP/view)
of the shooter while Mr. Jones did not; Mr. Jones’ co-defendant admitted his involvement in the crime, was heard bragging that he set up Mr. Jones, and is now free after serving only 15 years.
“There is strong evidence that the prosecution misrepresented to the jury the deal that was made with Mr. Jones’ co-defendant at trial.”
At the time of his arrest, Jones was an athlete and student at the University of Oklahoma on an academic scholarship. In John Marshall High School, Jones was a member of the National Honor Society and graduated with a class rank of 12 out of 143.
On April 25, 2017, the Oklahoma Death Penalty Review Commission (https://www.courthousenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/OklaDeathPenalty.pdf )
issued a report that detailed the numerous systemic flaws within Oklahoma’s system of capital punishment. The first of its kind study led commission co-chair former Governor Brad Henry to state,” This yearlong investigation led members to question whether the death penalty can be administered in a way that insures that no innocent person is put to death.”
In a recent filing with the U.S. Supreme Court, Jones has asked for a review of a detailed statistical study of racial bias in the application of the death penalty in Oklahoma.
The study, “Race and Death Sentencing for Oklahoma Homicides Committed Between 1990 and 2012”
(https://www.courthousenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/OklaDeathPenalty.pdf ), concluded that a black defendant like Jones, accused of killing a white male victim in Oklahoma, is nearly three times more likely to receive a death sentence than if his victim were a nonwhite male.
According to Baich, Jones’ case is riddled with odious racial discrimination — including a police officer’s use of a racial slur during Jones’ arrest and the State’s removal of all prospective black jurors except one —evidence shows that a juror used the “n-word” before jury deliberations at the sentencing phase.
“The U.S. Supreme Court has made unequivocally clear that our criminal justice system cannot tolerate such blatant examples of racial prejudice on the part of even a single juror,” Baich added. “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 prosecutor’s files must be released in order for there to be public confidence in this conviction,” Baich stated. “There is much more to do moving forward and we are confident that in the end Mr. Jones will be vindicated.”
Read the DNA report here (http://www.oag.ok.gov/Websites/oag/images/CCB1725-0142%20Scanned%20Report.pdf).
For more information about the Julius Jones case, visit justiceforjulius (http://justiceforjulius.com/).