Oklahoma’s 1st executions set since ’15 include Julius Jones


FILE – This Feb. 5, 2018, file photo provided by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections shows Julius Jones.. (Oklahoma Department of Corrections via AP, File)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma scheduled its first executions Monday since the state put lethal injections on hold six years ago following a series of mishaps.

Included on the list seven executions is Julius Jones, whose case has drawn national attention.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals scheduled Jones to die on Nov. 18 by lethal injection for the 1999 slaying of Edmond businessman Paul Howell, who was shot in front of his family during a carjacking. The court set the date despite a Sept. 13 recommendation by the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board that Jones’ death sentence be commuted to life imprisonment without parole.

The recommendation has received no decision by Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt, who must make the final decision.

Jones’ case was featured in 2018 on the ABC television documentary series “The Last Defense.” That drew the attention of reality television star Kim Kardashian West and numerous professional athletes with ties to Oklahoma, who appealed for clemency.

Jones, 41, has consistently maintained that he is innocent of the killing.

Oklahoma once had one of the busiest death chambers in the nation, but executions were put on hold following a botched lethal injection in 2014 that left an inmate writhing on the gurney and drug mix-ups in 2015 in which the wrong lethal drugs were delivered. One inmate was executed with an unapproved drug and a second inmate was just moments away from being led to the death chamber before prison officials realized the same wrong drug had been delivered for his execution.

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