Julius Jones: A Collision of Uncertainty and Finality | Chroniclers


Bob Doucette Editorial Editor

On a hot night in July 2000, Gregg Francis Braun made a final, desperate appeal.

“Save me, Mother Marie, from the damnation I deserve,” he said. “I’m so sorry, folks.”

He said a few more words, and you could to feel fear in his voice. A few minutes later he was gone.

I watched Braun, strapped to a stretcher in the death chamber of the Oklahoma State Penitentiary, die by lethal injection 11 years after killing an Ardmore florist – one of five people he he was murdered in a four-state massacre that ended in the high plains of northeast New Mexico.

The course of an execution differs from case to case.

Some express their fear, like Braun. Others defiantly proclaim their innocence. And still others calmly accept their fate. But there is a common thread that makes capital punishment unique compared to all other forms of justice: its purpose.

There is no turning back once a run is performed, in the same way that you can’t remember a bullet after pulling the trigger. Before you realize it, you better be sure you got this one right.

Which brings us to the case of Julius Jones.

Jones was arrested, tried and convicted of the 1999 murder of Edmond businessman Paul Howell in a car theft at Howell’s parents’ suburban home. He was sentenced to death for the crime. New Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor has requested an execution date, which the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals set for November 18.

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