CLEVELAND — Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield got emotional Wednesday when he addressed the pending execution of Julius Jones, an Oklahoma man on death row fighting to prove his innocence in a 1999 murder.
“It's a shame it's gotten this far,” Mayfield told a group of reporters. “We're 24 hours away. It's tough. You know, hopefully, God can intervene and handle it correctly and do the things He needs to do."
#Browns Baker Mayfield tears up when addressing the pending execution of Julius Jones, an Oklahoma man on death row fighting to prove his innocence in a 1999 murder.— Camryn Justice (@camijustice) November 17, 2021
Mayfield has been a vocal advocate for Jones' commutation. pic.twitter.com/T6vZ9nasV8
Jones, 41, is currently on death row, serving time for the 1999 killing of Paul Howell, who was shot in his family’s driveway after a carjacking in the wealthy suburb of Edmond, Oklahoma.
Jones was a star high school athlete and a student at the University of Oklahoma and had just turned 19 when he was arrested. Jones was named the prime suspect despite his claims that he was home playing games and eating dinner with his family.
According to the Innocence Project, his legal team failed to present his alibi at his original trial. His trial attorneys never called Jones’ family to the stand.
Jones’ co-defendant, Christopher Jordan, is believed to have set Jones up for the crime. After pleading guilty, he served 15 years in prison and is now free. Jones was sentenced to the death penalty and 40 years.
Since his sentencing, Jones and supporters have long advocated that he is innocent. His case garnered the attention of Kim Kardashian, rapper J-Cole, and NBA stars, among others.
"We think Julius was wrongfully convicted and that Oklahoma is at risk of executing an innocent man," Jones's attorney, Amanda Bass, told ABC News.
In June, Mayfield wrote a letter to Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt and the parole board, asking to save Jones from execution.
The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board voted 3-1 earlier this month to recommend clemency for Julius Jones. The board also recommended his sentence be commuted to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
The decision now lands on Stitt's desk. Jones is scheduled to be executed on Nov. 18 unless Stitt decides to grant him clemency.
Kaylyn Hlavaty and Camryn Justice at WEWS first reported this story.