An Inola preacher has petitioned Governor Kevin Stitt on behalf of Julius Jones.
Jones is scheduled to be executed today at 4 p.m. unless Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt grants him clemency.
As of today Stitt has still not said whether he will follow the recommendation from the state Pardon and Parole Board, which voted 3-1 on Nov. 1 to commute Jones' sentence to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
Inola United Methodist Church Pastor Dylan Ward penned a letter to the governor and urged many in his community to reach out as well.
Ward wrote, “I write to you [Governor] on this occasion to request and urge you to follow the recommendations of the Pardon and Parole Board in granting Mr. Julius Jones clemency.”
He went on to share three reasons.
“Life is sacred and should be protected. The death penalty is incompatible with the life and teaching of Jesus Christ,” Ward said. “Second, it is possible that Mr. Jones is innocent. I do not know this for sue, but there does seem to be considerable doubt. IF there is even a chance, the State should not kill. To kill an innocent person is an abomination. We know people have been cleared after they were killed by the state and this is unacceptable.”
Lastly, Ward said, “The Pardon and Parole Board has done their job and considered the facts carefully and found it fitting to recommend clemency. I implore you to trust the people you put in this place to do this.”
In his letter Ward noted that he believes in justice, and believes it should be restorative.
“As a minister for Christ, I believe humans should not determine when life ends,” he wrote.
He signed off saying, “Spare Mr. Jones’ life because it is the right thing to do.”
The letter was shared as many across the state, and even celebrities on social media, were sharing their opinions about the highly-publicized, controversial case.
“There are a lot of people who have been speaking up and working against the death penalty,” Ward said. “I’m just one of those voices.”