It was the first time the board has held a commutation hearing for an inmate facing the death penalty. Now, as Jones faces execution in as little as two months, his fate lies with Gov. Kevin Stitt, who must ultimately decide whether to commute his sentence.
Oklahoma hasn’t attempted an execution since a series of bungled attempts ushered in a six-year moratorium on capital punishment. Now it says it’s ready to execute seven men in three-week intervals beginning as early as next month.
Jones’ attorneys believe the Pardon and Parole Board investigator recommended Jones have his sentence commuted. The board’s attorney says the “investigator recommendation” isn’t actually a recommendation.
The money Oklahoma saved from sending fewer people to prison was supposed to finance county mental health programs. But the Legislature has never sent any money to the fund and no rules have been written for how the money can be spent.