Baker Mayfield leads athletes' calls for Julius Jones to avoid execution
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield was among the athletes who made a plea to Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt regarding the status of inmate Julius Jones, who was set to be executed Thursday.,
Julius Jones, 41, was convicted in the 1999 murder of Paul Howell, a businessman in the affluent Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond. Jones has maintained his innocence for more than two decades and even while the state’s Pardon and Parole Board twice voted 3-1 to recommend Stitt grant Jones clemency and commute his sentence to life in prison.
Later Thursday, Jones was granted clemency to avoid lethal injection.
“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,” Sitt said in a statement.
Mayfield had been among the athletes who have come out in support of Jones.
“Yeah, that is pretty rough to be honest with you. That is not something that is easy to talk about. I have been trying to get the facts stated and the truth to be told for a while, but it is tough to think about. Tried and tried. It is a shame that it has gotten this far,” Mayfield told reporters
“We are 24 hours away. It is tough. Hopefully, God can intervene, and handle it correctly and do the things he needs to do.”
Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr released a video on his Twitter account calling for the stop of Jones’ execution.
“I wanted to put this video out, please share it. Please join in the fight to save an innocent man’s life. Do it for Julius. Do it for his family. Do it for our country. This cannot happen in a civilized nation and we have to keep this from happening. Do everything you can,” Kerr said.
Other NBA stars, including Russell Westbrook, Trae Young and Blake Griffin, have come out in support of Jones as well.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.