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This letter is by Christopher Johnston, a military veteran and activist in Oklahoma County.

Dear Governor Kevin Stitt,

I have written you before about the issue that is being talked about all over our state: the issue of the commutation hearing for our brother Julius Darius Jones. 

Mr. Jones and his unbelievably strong family have for 22 years been fighting so that the truth can be seen. The light has started to conquer the darkness in our wonderful state. Monday the 13th of September showed the world that when the people keep pushing for righteousness and when we keep pushing for the truth to be seen nothing can stop it. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would famously use this quote” Truth crushed to earth rises again”. 

On September 13th it rose and our brother Julius was given another chance to clear his name and most importantly come home. 

The family of our brother Julius sighed a heavy sigh of relief as The Pardon and Parole Board voted 3-1 to commute his sentence. I, as an activist, gained hope when at times, I have lost it or it was so hard to find. 

The 13th of this month showed me that when you are persistent like Julius’s mother “ Mama Jones” or the rest of his beautiful and strong family and the extended family of all of the activists fighting for our brother you can achieve the perceived unachievable. 

Governor Stitt, we are in a time of a paradigm shift in where we are looking at our criminal justice system with a more honest eye. An eye that is seeing all that is an imperfect system and the fail-safes we have in our great country are necessary.

Governor Stitt, you have done a really good job of helping create a Pardon and Parole Board that is fair, merciful, and just — a group of people who take their jobs seriously and analyze every aspect of a case before making a hard decision. 

I am thankful that in this time of political polarization we still can have leaders who think beyond partisanship and look at justice. You took a stance for freedom and justice by ensuring that this important body is fair and impartial. 

As a combat veteran who fought for this country and still fights for her people, I commend when our leaders put aside politics and show their allegiance to their citizens. There is a citizen who requires us to be brave and to fight for him. No one should be held in prison or sent to be executed if all the evidence points to them being innocent. That person I am talking about is our brother and your brother Mr. Julius Darius Jones. 

I say your brother because we are all not just Oklahomans or Americans but we are part of a much larger family which is a human family — communities that are stitched together by the very fabric of human connection. 

Humanity is such as beautiful idea. In which every culture, race, religion, or non-religious have a shared belief. And that is to treat others as you want to be treated and we are asking to treat your brother Julius with compassion and righteousness. 

Governor Stitt, we as humans require love, compassion, and justice. Justice for Julius is also justice for the Howell family. The Howell family is still hurting from the horrible actions of a man who made a cruel choice but the person was not our brother Julius. And though it will be painful for the Howell family to see Mr. Jones come home, it is the righteous thing to do. 

Sir,  please commute Mr. Jones’s sentence to time served and please send him home to his family. 

I do hope the Howell family gets justice for what has happened to them but we can not either send an innocent man to death or keep him in prison for the wicked actions of someone else. The evidence shows that the Jones family has waited long enough for their son and brother to come back home.

Please Governor Stitt, Julius has spent long enough time in bondage. It is time to allow him to live the rest of his life the way it should be: breathing free air. 

Signed, Christopher Johnston

Last Updated September 15, 2021, 4:53 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor