It’s no surprise that Kim Kardashian has helped plenty of people who are unfairly incarcerated over the years. Now, the Keeping Up With the Kardashians star, 40, is on a mission to free Julius Jones after he has spent 20 years behind bars.
“So, Kim Kardashian West has gotten involved. She met with you and Julius in prison. She then met with Julius’ family,” Dr. Mehmet Oz told Jones’ attorney, Dale Baich, on the upcoming Thursday, December 17, episode of The Dr. Oz Show. “What kinds of assistance is she able to provide?”
“Well, it was a really great meeting a few weeks ago,” Baich said. “We met on death row at Oklahoma State Penitentiary. We had a one-and-a-half hour meeting with Julius. Miss Kardashian West was very well informed about the case. She asked Julius good and hard questions, and she’s committed to making sure that this injustice is corrected.”
Jones, who is Black, was arrested at 19 years old for shooting a White businessman named Paul Howell, who was 45 years old, in 1999. Jones has constantly said he did not commit the crime, but he was convicted of first-degree murder in 2002 and sentenced to death. However, according to the Change.org petition, “it is clear that Julius’ lawyer did not adequately defend him, and that explicit racial bias played a significant role in the process.”
Jones “has lived on death row for almost 20 years, and is held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day. He is allowed one hour of sunlight a day, and three showers a week,” the petition revealed.
Mara Schiavocampo, an investigative correspondent for Dr. Oz, explained why Jones is in the position he’s currently in.
“I want to remind everybody, the eyewitness to the crime, the victim’s sister, gave a description of the shooter that Julius Jones does not fit. So I’m stunned. I hear the story and I wonder why is he currently on death row?” Dr. Oz asked.
“Yeah, that’s a great question. The victim’s sister said that the shooter was wearing a skullcap, but that about half an inch of hair was visible underneath. But photos of Jones in the days leading up to the shooting show that his hair was very short, it was cut very close,” Schiavocampo said.
She added, “He couldn’t have grown it that long so quickly. So there are a lot of questions about whether or not he was adequately defended by his legal team. I also think, Dr. Oz, it’s really important that we cannot ignore the role of race in this case. Oklahoma has the highest Black incarceration rate in the country. Blacks there are incarcerated at four-and-a-half times the rate of Whites, and if the victim is White, they are far more likely to seek the death penalty.”
Jones’ sister, Antoinette Jones, said it’s been “a roller coaster of emotions” to watch her sibling be convicted and then sentenced to death. “It’s been a nightmare that you can’t wake up from, knowing the truth and knowing that my brother was at home,” she said. “It’s been hurtful to know that there hasn’t been full transparency where his case is at.”