Oklahoma board sets dates for high-profile death-row inmates

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board has set tentative dates for clemency hearings for high-profile death row inmate Julius Jones and five others who have exhausted their legal appeals.

The clemency hearings for the inmates would take place 21 days before their scheduled executions, according to The Oklahoman.

Formal approval of the hearing dates will not be made until the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals weighs whether the capital punishments may move forward.

Execution dates were sought by Attorney General John O’Connor last Thursday after a U.S. district judge ruled that six death row inmates were eligible since they had not identified an alternative method in an ongoing constitutional challenge to the state’s protocols for lethal injection.

Jones is convicted of killing an Edmond man in his driveway in 1999.

Attorneys for him and the five other death row inmates have asked U.S. District Judge Stephen Friot to reconsider his Aug. 11 ruling that cleared the inmates for execution.

They argue in court filings that Jones has a second commutation hearing scheduled before the Pardon and Parole Board on Sept. 13 and Jones has “remedies available in the federal district court proceedings” challenging the constitutionality of Oklahoma’s lethal injection protocols intended for use in his execution.

The board anticipates having the commutation hearing wrapped into Jones’ clemency hearing tentatively scheduled for Oct. 5.

Gov. Kevin Stitt will get the final say in the case if the board recommends commuting Jones’ sentence.

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