Around Edmond Extra: Injustice for All. Oklahoma v Julius Jones.
I understand this topic is painful to some in Edmond and my intent is not to harm people with this discussion, nor influence anyone’s opinion, nor is it to inflame anyone who believes they aren’t racist but whose actions protect those who clearly are racist.
I will be clear this article is at complete odds with another Edmond publisher of local media who published a scathing article regarding The Last Defense in 2018 that painted Bob Macy as a knight in white shining armor, who was in fact a prior Oklahoma County DA who has now had 50% of his cases reversed and who was forced to retire in 2001 for falsifying evidence.
Also, for those who are rolling their eyes asking “What does this case have to do with Edmond?” I might add that beloved businessman Paul Howell was an Edmond resident and businessman who was murdered in July 1999 in his driveway, so the answer is everything. Mr. Howell’s sister and children witnessed his murder.
Mr. Howell’s sister claimed at trial that the shooter screamed at her brother through a red bandana, to which this month no saliva at all was found in a red bandana claimed to have been Julius’, and over 4 sets of DNA were found with only 7 of 21 markers matching those of Julius, and she claimed the shooter had over an inch of hair at his neck, which Mr. Jones did not per a time dated mug shot taken by the Edmond PD 9 days earlier. Yet, July 10, 2020, Mike Hunter, the current Attorney General, outright stated different statements conclusively determining it was all Julius, and everyone, including celebrities should stop talking about this matter.
This story should have ended differently, in a perfect world, in 2002. But for those who fit the description of young black men, Julius’ story has sadly become the norm. White Americans just don’t and can’t understand this, even if they try. It’s truly horrifying.
When Mr. Howell’s murder occurred, the news media were provided with Julius’ photograph and they deemed him the presumed killer.
I bring this up because not only is this media practice unethical and unfair, but it is a symptom of systemic racism, exacerbated by a naive society in general that believes the first thing they hear, without society considering the consequences of media purporting potentially false information that causes the loss of access to a fair trial or assumption of innocence rather an assumption of guilt, and we repeatedly see this happen when the accused is black.
Everyone has the right to a fair trial allowing the defendant to have clear evidence presented by their public defender on their behalf (DA didn’t disclose case file to this defense attorney either), to allow the defendant, and their family, to testify, and disallowing racism from any juror. Everyone. If one person loses this right, as did Julius, for a DA’s office win, we all do. This is what happened to Julius under Bob Macy.
3 Appeals were sought, with a normal time of 6 to 18 months usually for review, and Mr. Jones appeals were denied each time after only 3 days, which is highly unusual due to the fact Mr. Jones time dated doughnut caused mug shot taken 9 days prior to the murder proved Mr. Jones didn’t physically match the eye witness description of the shooter with about an inch of hair protruding from a stocking cap on the night of the murder and the witness description matched Chris Jordan almost to a tee.
Julius Jones family paid a private defense attorney with everything they had at their disposal to represent Julius until his untimely heart attack and death, when Julius was provided an Oklahoma County Public Defender.
This same Oklahoma County Public Defender, now a private attorney, admitted in the Special Edition of 20/20 July 14, 2020 of the Last Defense that he failed to allow the photo taken by Edmond PD 9 days earlier to be shown to the jury, showing Julius had a close shaven summer hair cut to be seen by the Jury or Judge, proving Julius did not have 1 inch or more of hair on his head at all much less at his neck (photo taken as a mug shot without charges or a ticket to Julius for doing doughnuts in a Mazzio’s parking lot).
This Oklahoma County Public Defender also admitted he refused to let Julius speak on his own behalf, or allow his family to testify at all without cause, except for the defender stated he didn’t believe the family and did not know why he failed to produce the physical photographic evidence Julius didn’t match the eye witness description at all. This defense attorney still unbelievably has a license to practice law. Read that again. Then read on.
Chris Jordan, one of the defendants in this case, was a repeat and convicted felon who faced the death penalty. It is not legal for his testimony to have been considered when he received benefit for it from the DA’s office or a Federal Judge. The jury was told Mr. Jordan, likely the actual murderer, based on clear and evident material evidence and eyewitness testimony whom saw the shooter, didn’t receive any benefit, but 30 to life.
The truth was that before Mr. Jones trial, an Edmond detective wrote a letter to a Federal Judge seeking leniency for Mr. Jordan, again, which was unlawfully never disclosed to anyone.
Mr. Jordan was released from prison in 2014, without costs or fines or even probation, exactly 15 years later. As the publisher of EdmondActive Magazine, a member of this community and as a human being, I find this appalling, and an injustice for all involved, loss of justice for the Howell family, and of course Julius Jones, his family, friends and community.
Julius Jones was a star academic who attended John Marshall High School. He had a 3.9 GPA and was awarded a full academic scholarship to OU. This is the kind of young person our Edmond society celebrate, with determination to make something of himself. This young man was only one of two young black men who were in the John Marshall High School class top 10 percent, with his best friend Jimmy Lawson being the other, who also attended college on an athletic scholarship, and who is now a high school Coach.
The night Julius had dinner with his family, celebrating his birthday with board games and a giant birthday cookie, 21 minutes from Edmond, Mr. Howell was shot down in his driveway by someone who shouted at him prior to shooting him through a red bandana and who had an inch of hair protruding from a stocking cap.
FAST FORWARD TO DNA TESTING IN 2020 NEVER PERFORMED OVER 20 YEARS AND CURRENT DA REFUSING TO PRODUCE CASE FILE FOR NEW FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER DALE BAICH
Friday July 10, 2020, Attorney General Mike Hunter, announced Julius has the right to a clemency hearing but trial transcripts that in my opinion were flawed because a public defender threw the trial in favor of the prosecutors, and new first time DNA proved without a doubt Julius was Mr. Howell’s killer.
Again, not mentioned by Mr. Hunter was the fact there were four sets of DNA in the bandana with only 7 of 21 markers matching Mr. Jones, NOT conclusively determining Mr. Jones guilt but adding serious question of fact so much so that clemency is at least deserved and possible commutation with time served is appropriate in this particular case. The statement that Mr. Hunter won’t consider pleas by celebrities was double speak and meant nothing except Mr. Hunter is protecting previous systemic injustice based in racism.
And literally no trace of saliva from the screaming at Mr. Howell by the shooter, was found at all, meaning the bandana found in Mr. Jones room wrapping the gun with no fingerprints couldn’t have been the one used in the shooting, and only found by the police with Mr. Jordan as the informant the day after Mr. Jordan asked the Jones family if he could spend the night, the night before police destroyed the Jones home, because his grandma locked him out of her house.
This is relevant and we can all understand this as we are all being asked to wear masks to trap our saliva droplets for Covid 19.
Mr. Baich, Julius’ new Federal Public Defender, has asked to review the case file to which in 2019 Mr. Prater stated he would provide but will not part with the file at all, as of the date of this column.
Along with Mr. Hunter providing only partial DNA information to the public with partial claims of the DNA results, and omitting clear evidence that Mr. Jones was not present at Mr. Howell’s home the night of the shooting per his mug shot vs eye witness description are acts that should concern every single person living in Oklahoma, but especially young black men, with new actor’s continuing to protect those whom have had to retire due to falsifying evidence and have had over 50% of their convictions overturned.
We can all do better. This is a referendum on Edmond, OKC and Oklahoma County, and how we choose to handle this one case determines our level of understanding of underlying systemic racism, the damage it causes our communities, the damage it causes police/community relations, which all affects our economies directly and indirectly, much less community perceptions.
If the powers that be don’t want to look easily swayed by celebrities, don’t care or understand their ethics and integrity are on display currently and these issues are more important to them than a person’s life – then community conversation can never occur in an authentic way, and no change will be forthcoming anytime soon, should Oklahoma allow the act of a murderer to kill yet another man. Julius Jones.
Without a clemency hearing that is fair without prejudice, the Jones family will have lost a beloved son who appears very much to be innocent.
Our system let a murderer free after 15 years and that appears to have robbed the Howell family of their right to justice, as well.
Our system is broken if this execution is allowed to occur at all, much less blatantly with reasonable doubt existing that Mr. Jones was even at the scene – existing on its face, which if presented to the Judge or Jury at the time would have disallowed capital punishment much less the trial to move forward against Julius. Our humanity requires this matter to be addressed before this young mans life is taken by the State of Oklahoma.