OKLAHOMA CITY — Attorneys for death row inmate Julius Jones asked a federal judge Thursday morning for a last-minute stay on the execution, citing new evidence they say shows the proposed protocol may subject “prisoners to a substantial risk of severe pain suffering.”
Jones, 41, is scheduled to be executed at 4 p.m. local time Thursday at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. His attorneys asked an Oklahoma City federal judge for the stay Thursday morning, citing the Oct. 28 execution of John Marion Grant.
Grant convulsed and vomited after the first drug, the sedative midazolam, was administered, witnesses said. He was declared unconscious about 15 minutes after the first of three drugs was administered and declared dead about six minutes after that.
Jones has been incarcerated nearly 20 years after being convicted in the fatal shooting of Paul Howell during a 1999 carjacking. He was sentenced to death at the age of 22 but has maintained his innocence throughout.
On Wednesday outside Gov. Kevin Stitt’s office, chants of “Free Julius” echoed through the building as family, friends and supporters of Jones gathered to make their final pleas to stop Thursday’s execution. In a heartfelt monologue proclaiming his innocence, Jones’ mother, Madeline Davis-Jones, said, “If my child is executed tomorrow, or any day, it should be without a doubt, without any doubt.”
As of Thursday morning, Stitt had yet to say whether he would grant clemency, as recommended this month by a majority of the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board.
Meanwhile, supporters on Thursday resumed their ongoing vigil outside the governor’s office on the second floor of the Oklahoma state Capitol.
Contributing: Christine Fernando, USA TODAY