News 07.24.18

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.

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  1. Jj Kling says:

    Free him

  2. Ki Penn says:

    I hope you saved one of those stamps for a letter to Julius himself. I’m sure, right now especially, JJ could sure use a lot of love and compassion and thoughtful words from anyone, even perfect strangers.

    • Grace Rohwer says:
      Hello Julius. I just heard about your case for the first time today! I'm so sorry for all you have been through during the past 18 years! You definitely deserve a new and fair trial! You have a lot of people on your side, hoping for the truth to be made known! Even though this is a very sad situation, I believe that good will come out of this horror story! Satan desires the destruction of ALL people, but God wants to help and to bless His children! In the documentary, you mentioned that you felt like God has abandoned you which is understandable! If you have access to a Bible, please read the story about Joseph being wrongly accused of a crime. He didn't understand why God allowed this to happen, but he trusted Him anyway and God used him in a most amazing way to save the lives of many! It is my prayer that you WILL get another chance at life and that not only will you be set free physically, but that your emotional, and spiritual wounds will be healed as well! Cry out to Jesus! As of today, I am also crying out to Jesus on your behalf!

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