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The quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys is rallying for the release of a death row inmate in Oklahoma who has received widespread support from celebrities and activists, arguing the case against the man was marred by racial bias.
Dak Prescott, a player for the Dallas Cowboys, sent a letter to Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board on Thursday in support of Julius Jones, who maintains his innocence following his conviction in the 1999 killing of a prominent businessman. The letter was obtained by Time.
"After reviewing the facts of the Julius Jones case, I firmly believe the wrong person is being punished for this terrible crime; furthermore, an evaluation of the process that led to Mr. Jones’ conviction raises serious legal and ethical concerns," Prescott wrote. "I implore you to right this wrong."
Jones has been on death row for nearly two decades after he was found guilty of killing 45-year-old businessman Paul Howell. Jones has maintained that he was at home with his family when Powell was killed.
Jones’ attorney Dale Baich previously told Oxygen.com Jones' codefendant Chris Jordan testified against Jones in exchange for the state dropping the death penalty in his own case, alongside two confidential informants who also received deals.
Furthermore, Jones' defense team has contended that a juror in Jones' case made racist remarks and was biased against him.
"It is my firm belief that Julius Jones’ conviction and death sentence is an egregious injustice. Mr. Jones has been on death row for 20 years, despite written affidavits from his trial lawyers describing the ways they failed him in court," Prescott wrote.
Prescott alluded to the accusations of racial bias in Jones' case.
"The treatment of Julius Jones is the kind of miscarriage of justice African American men like myself live in fear of, and that is why I feel compelled to use the influence that God has blessed me with to speak up for what I believe is right," Prescott stated in his letter.
Prescott is the latest high-profile voice to speak up for Jones, who has exhausted his appeals and now can only be released from prison via clemency.
NBA stars such as Blake Griffin, Russell Westbrook, Trae Young and Buddy Hield have all penned letters to Gov. Stitt on Jones’ behalf, along with NFL quarterback Baker Mayfield, ESPN previously reported.
Despite the pleas, state authorities appear to be committed to keeping Jones incarcerated. Last month, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter released a 12-page document entitled "Overwhelming Evidence of Guilt."
The document attempts to refute that Jordan had a deal with prosecutors to testify against Jones in exchange for favorable treatment. However, it also noted that Jordan has been released from prison in the intervening years.
"Christopher Jordan was released due to prison credits, a matter over which District Attorneys’ Offices have no control," Hunter wrote.
Hunter maintained that he believes Jones deserves to be executed in an interview with Time.
"There are a few attorneys in here that know more about this case than I do, but I guarantee you I know more about this case than those who are advocating on Mr. Jones’ behalf," Hunter told the outlet.
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