Reality television star Kim Kardashian West is continuing her advocacy for prison reform by assisting individuals facing possible legal difficulties or wrongful convictions.
On Monday, she met with Julius Jones, a man who is on Death Row in Oklahoma. Kim has offered to help with his legal situation and has supported his cause for well over a year.
The Keeping Up With the Kardashians star made the trip to OKC just yesterday to finally meet face-to-face with Jones and his attorney, promising any help they needed with the case.
Julius Jones convicted for 1999 murder
Per TMZ’s report, the original crime which Julius Jones was convicted for occurred back in 1999. Jones, who is a black man, was 19 at the time and arrested for shooting and killing a 45-year-old white man, Paul Howell, a businessman from Edmond.
In 2002, Jones was convicted of first-degree murder and received a death sentence. According to KOCO 5 News, he’s now been on death row for over 20 years and is attempting to get his sentence commuted and reduced.
There are opinions from many people that suggest Jones’ case was “racially charged” (per TMZ) and that there wasn’t a lot of evidence that connected him to the scene of the murder. In addition, many people say Jones had a poor legal defense at the time of his legal proceedings, which resulted in his conviction.
Documentary got Kim K interested in Jones’ case
Kim Kardashian is said to have become interested in this cause after watching a documentary that actress Viola Davis produced called The Last Defense. The documentary came out in 2018 and put a spotlight on Jones’ arrest and defense.
In October of 2019, KOCO 5 reported (video below) that Kim Kardashian had tweeted out to her followers about Jones’ situation.
Jones has alleged he believes he may have been framed for the 1999 murder. The victim’s sister originally stated that a young black man wearing a red bandana committed the crime. Jones has alleged that he personally didn’t match up with that specific description.
In addition, his mother, Madeline Jones, has stated that her son Julius was at home with the family at the time of the shooting.
“Our family knows that Julius did not commit this murder, because Julius was at home with us at the time of the murder,” Madeline Jones said per a news release. “We were at home playing board games and eating spaghetti. The judge and jury that convicted and sentenced my son to die never heard that we were having a family game night.”
Oklahoma has few clemencies since 1976
The website Death Penalty Information Center indicates that the current death row population in Oklahoma is 47 and that there have been 113 executions in the state since 1976.
There have been 10 innocent people freed from death row and four clemencies granted in Oklahoma, per the website’s current data for the state.
In 2019, Jones filed a petition for clemency. However, it’s now up to The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board, which has the power to make a recommendation to commute and reduce Jones’ sentence.
If that ends up happening, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt will decide whether or not to go forth with the Board’s recommendations.
It’s noted that over six million people have signed an online petition to ask for Jones’ sentence to be commuted. Several professional sports stars have shown their support for the cause. They include former Oklahoma City Thunder basketball star Russell Westbrook, Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, and Detroit Pistons star Blake Griffin.
Kardashian continues advocacy for prison reform
With Kim Kardashian offering her celebrity status and legal connections, it may further the cause for Julius Jones and help with his situation in staving off the death sentence.
Over the past several years, Kardashian has been active in the area of prison reform and helping certain incarcerated individuals. That included her advocacy for the commutation of Alice Marie Johnson’s life sentence. She was convicted in 1996 for involvement in a Memphis cocaine ring and received a life sentence.
However, Kim advocated for her sentence to be commuted. After serving 21 years in prison, Alice was released from the Federal Correctional Institution in June 2018. As of this past August, President Donald Trump has granted a full pardon to Alice Marie Johnson.
Kim Kardashian also worked along with CNN political contributor Van Jones and Senior Adviser to the President, Jared Kushner, to get President Trump’s support for the First Step Act. The act, which was enacted prison reforms and is an effort to end mass incarceration, was signed into law in late 2018.
Now Kardashian is hoping to aid Julius Jones. While there is no date set for his execution, he has reportedly exhausted all appeals. The Oklahoma State Attorney General has also said they are prepared to resume lethal injections.
Keeping Up With the Kardashians returns in 2021 on E!