CLEVELAND — Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Baker Mayfield made an emotional plea for Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt to stop the execution of death row inmate Julius Jones.
Hours before Jones was scheduled to be executed on Thursday afternoon, Stitt did just that, commuting his sentence to life in prison without parole.
Shortly after it became public that Jones wouldn't be executed, Mayfield took to Twitter to celebrate the news. Mayfield had been a part of a group of athletes with ties to Oklahoma who formed the Julius Jones Coalition in 2019 in an effort to convince Stitt to stop his execution.
"God is GREAT!!!" the Cleveland Browns quarterback tweeted. "Thank you to everybody that prayed and continued to pray!"
Jones' previously planned execution came as the result of his 2002 conviction of first-degree murder, for the killing of businessman Paul Howell in 1999.
Despite the conviction, Jones has maintained his innocence, with several factors, including inconsistencies in the description of the shooter and potential racial bias in the jury, raising doubts about his conviction.
Jones' case has received national attention since 2015 when Oklahoma temporarily ceased executions following the mishandling of two separate cases. In the days leading up to Jones' scheduled execution, the case has received renewed interest, including Mayfield's emotional plea.
“Yeah, that is pretty rough to be honest with you," Mayfield answered while fighting back tears when asked about the matter on Wednesday. "That is not something that is easy to talk about. I have been trying to get the facts stated and the truth to be told for a while, but it is tough to think about. Tried and tried. It is a shame that it has gotten this far."
"We are 24 hours away. It is tough. Hopefully, God can intervene, and handle it correctly and do the things he needs to do.”