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Hi everyone! After a transformative and somewhat traumatic week last week, I took a little downtime to connect with my personal family, with all of us together for the first time since late 2015. It was casual, filled with amazing food thanks to Mishelle Handy Bakery, and my youngest, who is a cook training to be a chef, and this downtime not promoting anything, for me, was much needed. My youngest is growing up and trying to figure out where he wants his life to head, and my oldest has just been accepted to Arizona State University to finish up his degree he had to put on hold suddenly in 2014, to which I am beaming and can’t wait to see what he does with his degree.

Last week, I talked with a few folks who bought 2nd and 3rd homes over the last 15 months and 2 of 5 actually regret their purchases and what they sacrificed to buy them at a 30% higher price they were valued at 6 months earlier. I asked why they would do such a thing and they stated, clearly, they were afraid that if interest rates went up they couldn’t afford to buy the home they currently live in, and that they regret spending so much on the purchase price in their situations, because now they realize they are in a worse position than had they just waited out the sharp increase in home prices. After talking with Ben Floyd of 525 Realty, one of our prior online advertisers, he stated that in spite of the crazy buying situation this year that they had a down year because the inventory just wasn’t there to sell.

Here’s to hoping the real estate market straightens back up so that this weird influx of buyers vs. properties doesn’t price the most of us out of either purchasing or moving up in our housing choices.

Regardless of whether you moved into a new home or not, it is a calmer sweeter start to the holiday season than we saw last year, and it really feels a lot more like the most wonderful time of year is starting to unfold. Along with our local medical workers, our City council, the school board, restaurant and retail owners saw such abuse by a loud and rude minority that lasted well into this year. So, while you are out this holiday season, be sure to be a little kinder to those who you have contact with, I’m positive they would appreciate it.

Unpleasant conversation happened this fall over whether new evidence found in the Paul Howell case was enough to stop the execution of Julius Jones, with our Governor taking 6 weeks to decide what to do with the evidence he had that the Pardon and Parole Board used to offer first commutation of a death sentence for then clemency with commutation to life in prison with possibility of parole.

Attorney Kelly Masters Rennau found in the files evidence that a codefendant admitted to planting the weapon and there were 4 separate others that signed affidavits stating over the last 20 years the same codefendant admitted to committing the senseless crime against Mr. Howell. With this type of doubt cast, it was a no brainer to remove Julius Jones from death row to really sit down and examine the evidence that has arisen since the trial 22 years ago, that the trial itself was riddled with racist jurors, and a defense attorney in the public defender’s office who refused to defend Julius without context, cause or warning. There are a contingent of older leaders in Edmond that believe that the only justice was to execute Julius Jones, even though Mr. Jones has professed his innocence for the entire last 22 years, due to their old school belief in how the justice system has worked (it’s not worked and is broken, with Oklahoma incarcerating more people per capita than anywhere in the entire world.)

People are confused thinking the trial transcripts are accurate because well… they are only trial transcripts – but they fail to admit these transcripts clearly document Mr. Jones did not receive a fair trial as his attorney had passed away before the trial and the public defender out of the DA’s office offered no defense of the defendant, Julius Jones.

If we, as Oklahoman’s, want our state to carry out killings in our name, we should at the very least make sure the person who we are killing is 100% guilty of the crime warranting the death penalty.

My personal opinion is that no executions should be held, because of the barbaric way it’s done here as clearly documented by 5 media members after John Grant, who these media witnesses clearly described another willfully botched execution. According to Dr’s Mr. Grant’s execution involved much more of the first drug than is legally allowed to be used on a surgery patient and that his violent reaction was in fact not normal. If we are just throwing people onto death row on the word of informants that were given secret deals for shortened sentences, just to overly punish someone else whom the justice system wants to do so to, it is immoral and simply killing because the justice system doesn’t want to have the growth mindset to investigate any possible errors in earlier convictions.

Earlier this week, the State paid a anesthesiologist $1500 a day to testify that Mr. Grant’s violent reaction to the first drug meant only to sedate him was simply chalked up to a reaction similar to “acid reflux”, in a clear attempt to discredit highly credible journalist witnesses. This is most concerning in and of itself.

As I said, last week was traumatic, and it didn’t have to be. Julius Jones legal team had a firm sending PR about his case worldwide to try to bring last minute relief, and because of his truth being spread far and wide, the entire world cried out for his execution to be stayed.

Our Governor traumatized the entire State until four hours before Julius Jones execution was to occur, and he made the decision to stay the execution but created an order outside the recommendation of the Governor appointed Pardon and Parole Board, to singularly sentence Julius Jones to life in prison without possibility of parole, by stating Julius could not seek federal or state relief, and claiming that no other Governor could pardon Mr. Jones, despite evidence existing that another man who admitted to the crime is walking free. The Jones legal team will continue to work on his release, so we will update you when any news arises. And, because I don’t subscribe to innocent people being terrorized by the judicial and carceral system, this fact itself doesn’t mean I don’t feel for the Howell family, because I certainly do understand how they must feel after having lost a friend when in my 20’s to murder.

When you head out to celebrate Small Business Saturday, get to know the owners of the businesses you are supporting! We are all connected, and this is what makes shopping small worth it! Check out our Instagram account for some of Edmond’s locally owned small retailers throughout Saturday afternoon at Instagram.com/EdmondActive!

Have a wonderful day, enjoy Bedlam and shopping small along with more time with family and friends,

See you here Tuesday with a new digital edition of EdmondActive full of holiday fun,