Dak Prescott has petitioned to get a prisoner released from death row. The Dallas Cowboys quarterback recently wrote a letter to Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and the state's parole board that asks them to release Julius Jones, a black man who is in prison for murder. Time magazine obtained the letter, and Prescott believes releasing Jones would be a way to correct a "miscarriage" of justice.
"Current events are shining a much-needed light on deep-seated prejudices and systemic mistreatment of black people, and it is my sincere hope that the cultural movements of today will lead to significant social changes that will create a better tomorrow," Prescott wrote in the letter. "To that end, you all are in the unique position of being able to make a direct impact by addressing a specific miscarriage of justice."
Jones was sentenced to death in 1999 for the murder of Paul Howell, a White businessman from Oklahoma City during a carjacking. Jones was 19 years old at the time, and his family claims he didn't kill Howell because he was at home during the time of the murder. Jones, who was a student at the University of Oklahoma during that time, didn't testify her whereabouts at the trial. A docu-series based on the trial was released in 2018, which was called The Last Defense, and Jones' original trial lawyer admitted to not being experienced in capital cases.
"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. Please don't let another innocent black man die from the systemic mistreatment that has plagued our nation for far too long."
Jones was convicted in 2002 and has maintained his innocence ever since. Last month Oklahoma attorney general Mike Hunter released a summary of original transcripts in the case and said Jones is guilty. "The fact is, Julius Jones murdered Paul Howell in cold blood in front of his sister and daughters," Hunter said. "No celebrity imploration or profusion of misinformation will change that."
Prescott isn't the only sports figure to support Jones. He has joined Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield and the NBA's Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin, Trae Young and Buddy Hield in asking the governor to free Jones.