When he’s not fighting for touchdowns on the field, Dak Prescott is apparently fighting for justice off of it.
In a letter sent to Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and the state’s parole board on Thursday, Time Magazine reports that the two-time Pro Bowler is advocating for the release of Julius Jones, a Black man currently on Death Row for murder.
“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. “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.”
That miscarriage of justice would be the first-degree murder conviction of Jones, who was charged with the death of Paul Howell in 2002. However, on the night of the murder, July 28, 1999, Jones maintains that he was not at the scene of the crime because he was at home playing Monopoly with his family.
“I ended up giving either my Boardwalk or my Park Place to Julius,” his sister, Antoinette, told Time.
In the time since, advocates for Jones’ release have cited his conviction should be overturned for a myriad of reasons, the most notable being his inept defense team, an erroneous investigation and overt racial bias.
“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.”
Prescott isn’t alone in his quest, as ESPN reports that Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield and NBA stars Russell Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin and Trae Young have petitioned for Jones’ release as well. But despite their efforts, Oklahoma attorney general Mike Hunter remains 100 percent convinced that Jones committed murder.
“The fact is, Julius Jones murdered Paul Howell in cold blood in front of his sister and daughters,” he said. “No celebrity imploration or profusion of misinformation will change that.”
An execution date for Jones hasn’t been set, but with his appeals exhausted it’s clear that he’s running out of time.
“Julius Jones’ case is a clear example of what can happen to a person who cannot afford legal representation, and what can happen to a black person at any time in this country,” Prescott wrote. “Which is exactly why so many are protesting for the changes we so desperately need.”
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