Conservative leaders Deason and DeRoche, and legal community leader Kelli Masters, want to save the life of Oklahoma death row inmate Julius Jones
In a March letter to the Governor of Oklahoma supporting commutation for Julius Jones, conservative leader and businessman, Doug Deason said he is “deeply troubled by the way in which [Mr. Jones’s] trial was conducted — resulting in the death sentence despite credible evidence of his innocence.”
Deason, known for philanthropic work through the eponymous Deason Foundation, urged Governor Stitt “to look at all of the evidence piling up that supports Julius’ innocence,” and said that “to execute an individual under circumstances that just don’t add up would be an injustice.”
Jones, scheduled for execution in just two days, has consistently maintained his innocence in the murder of Edmond businessman Paul Howell.
The Jones case has attracted worldwide attention. With his judicial appeals exhausted, Jones nonetheless garnered clemency and commutation votes from the state Pardon and Parole Board. (https://www.capitolbeatok.com/reports/oklahoma-city-universitys-law-dean-emeritus-lawrence-k-hellman-encourages-governor-kevin-stitt-to-save-the-life-of-julius-jones/ )
Craig DeRoche, the former President of the Justice Fellowship, DeRoche, is another conservative defender of Julius Jones.
The former Republican Speaker of the Michigan State House wrote to Governor Stitt, “It appears to me that Julius is most likely innocent, and even if he was tangentially involved would have been released for time served long ago under Oklahoma law.”
Mr. DeRoche added, “You have the power to correct this injustice that carries with it life-and-death consequences.” Mr. DeRoche drew the Governor’s attention to Matthew 25:36-40, and noted that “Judeo-Christian values balance personal responsibility with forgiveness and mercy,” former Speaker DeRoche wrote.
Here in Oklahoma, a well-known leader of the state and local bar associations is another passionate supporter of Julius Jones.
In a recent op-ed for The Oklahoman newspaper, Kelli Masters, former appointee to the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Professional Responsibility Tribunal, wrote: “I believe in law and order, that crime victims deserve justice, and that our justice system works most of the time. But, I also believe — after considering all the evidence — that our justice system has failed in Julius Jones’ case and is at risk of sending an innocent man to his death.”(https://www.oklahoman.com/story/opinion/2021/10/17/viewpoint-executing-julius-jones-crime-he-didnt-commit-not-justice/6034197001/ )
Counting among her legal experiences work as a clerk for a member of the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, Masters contends, “Executing a man for a crime he didn’t commit is not justice. Our laws exist to protect the rights of the innocent. How can we say we are for law and order if we don’t protect the life of Julius Jones?”
Masters drew widespread attention for her comments in support of Jones’ commutation at a September hearing of the Pardon and Parole Board.