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Watch “The Last Defense” Series Finale Tonight on ABC

By Innocence Staff

In June 2018, ABC aired its new seven-part documentary series titled, The Last Defense, produced by Viola Davis. The Last Defense tells the stories of two individuals with compelling innocence claims who are currently on death row and awaiting execution: Darlie Routier and Julius Jones.

Tonight, the series finale will air on ABC, concluding its three-episode focus on Jones’ case. In 1999, Jones was a black 19-year-old honors student at the University of Oklahoma on a full academic scholarship when he was arrested for the carjacking and murder of a white insurance executive. Two years later, at only 21-years-old, Jones was convicted of the murder and sentenced to death—a crime that, to this day, Jones maintains he did not commit.

In its re-examination of Jones’ case, the series explores many themes that appear in many wrongful conviction cases: racism, incentivized witness testimony, prosecutorial misconduct and inadequate trial defense.

“Julius Darius Jones was convicted in Oklahoma in a racially charged trial based on dubious informant testimony — the leading cause of wrongful convictions in capital cases,” wrote executive producers Vanessa Potkin and Aida Leisenring in a letter to the New York Times. “His co-defendant, who served 15 years, fit the perpetrator’s description. Mr. Jones did not.”

According to the New York Times, Jones’ episodes tell a more “depressingly familiar story” in that Jones “regardless of his guilt or innocence, did not receive close to the best possible defense from the public defenders who represented him and that the system rigidly resists admitting any possible mistakes.”

The finale will discuss Jones’ attorneys’ current efforts to prove his innocence—which involve DNA testing a red bandana found at the scene and arguing that racial bias played a role in Jones’ conviction—before Oklahoma resumes its executions, which could occur by the end of the year.

Tune in to ABC tonight at 10 PM eastern time to learn more about Jones’ case and the factors that contribute to an innocent man being sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit. 

Watch the previous episodes here.

3 Comments

  1. Lorie Buchanan

    My heart breaks for anyone that has been so wronged. I’m not like anyone I know, I am a very forgiving person, so that even when someone has committed a crime I still look for the humanity in them and know that they have made a mistake, but that does not mean they should not exist. So when someone has been accused and convicted that is innocent ,I am truly heartbroken for them. Is there anything a person like me could do for the innocence project? I have no idea what that would be, but it’s worth asking the question.

  2. Sharon Blount

    My heart really goes out to this family and prays that this young man is set free and justice is really served . No family should have to go through this agony. These are innocent lives and a disgrace for racism to really be at this level of hatred.

  3. Aubrey Lee

    Besides donating as little or as much as we can. I am pretty poor but I figured I have enough money for stamps. There is a web page out there that lists a bunch of names and addresses on the clemency board including one to Mary Fallin and Julius Jones to write pleas for his life and new trial as well as letters of support. I’m not a big fan of some of what Fallin has done, how She’s responded to certain big state issues. I plan to let her know granting clemenancy to stop the execution of Julius Jones so he can get a new fair trial could be what her legacy is instead of her rude dismissive behavior towards teachers who hadn’t had a pay raise in 10 years likening them to ‘teenagers that can’t get their way’. I don’t have a lot of faith in this woman. Racism is still unfortunately a big part of our culture in 2018. But I plan to write her as a 40 year old white woman that pleads for this man’s life (and his family) that was essentially decimated when it was a time that i was also graduating high school and moving forward in my life with a certain amount of white privilege i wasnt even aware that i had. God bless Viola Davis. I would plug into google search engine Julius Darius Jones + Clemency board addresses and write to them. I believe if given a chance he will do as he says and become a beacon of light for the 1 out of 25 innocent people sitting on death row throughout our nation. I saw his sister and brother on tv the other day. They are truly hero’s and advocates in their own right as they grieve every day of life for their brother that has lost living his young life on death row.

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