Stories, true crime, wrongful conviction

Julius Jones Update

Disclaimer about my non-professional investigative skills

If you missed Julius’s story, catch up here before reading. Part One and Part Two

The type of DNA profiling used for the bandanna was STR analysis. STR stands for short tandem repeat. This is looking for the short tandem repeats that make up the backbone of the DNA strand. These small sections vary for each individual, so a collection of them from a sample can give irrefutable evidence statistically of the identity of the individual.

The DNA results on the red bandanna have been released. I have included a copy of it here, dna. The first thing I want to point out is that the bandanna is NEGATIVE for saliva. This tells me the perpetrator did not have the bandanna over their face, and Megan Tobey had a clear and unobstructed view of the person she saw shoot her brother. Her description should certainly be considered accurate.

The probability of the sample from the bandanna matching someone other than Julius is 1 in 110 million. This isn’t shocking, it was hidden and discovered in his house. Not only in his house, but in his bedroom closet. It’s not really surprising it would be positive for his touch DNA.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter stated, “The lab results, which indicate that Julius Jones’s DNA is present on the red bandanna, is an additional validation of the trial and appellate process in proving his guilt. I hope and pray this result gives the family members and loved ones of Paul Howell peace of mind. I also hope that through this process all Oklahomans who are victims of atrocious crimes know that my office will continue doing everything we can to ensure evil people who commit atrocious crimes will stay in prison.”

The Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater was quoted as saying those who defend and have defended Julius have “disseminated misinformation and lies regarding the trial and evidence”. He followed it up by saying “the testing by the murderer’s own DNA lab corroborates the jury’s verdict and exonerates the investigators, prosecutors, and jurors who the murderer’s defenders have slandered”.

I’m not sure why Mr. Prater chose to identify Julius as “the murderer” instead of Mr. Jones, but I can speculate it’s because the spotlight has been beaming down on this case since The Last Defense aired. I can’t see any validity in his choice of words other than shock value and impact, but “Mr. Jones” would have been sufficient and professional.

But here’s the thing about prosecutors, they basically have carte blanche to do whatever they need to do in order to win the case. Do the majority of prosecutors abuse this power? Absolutely not, but one rotten apple spoils the whole barrel. There still isn’t an actual and effective accountability system for prosecutors in Oklahoma. No consequences for prosecutorial misconduct. But I digress, back to the bandanna.

Although the bandanna is positive for Julius’s DNA, it’s ALSO positive for TWO or more additional individuals. The control sample collected from Christopher Jordan only yielded a partial profile, and can’t definitively be used. No further sample has been collected from Mr. Jordan. No identification is definitively made on the other profiles found on the bandanna.

Dale Baich, one of Julius’s current attorneys stated, “There are numerous profiles on the bandanna and the experts need to take a close and careful look at these results. The testing cannot tell us when DNA was deposited on the bandanna, which is why we cannot draw any conclusions when there are profiles of three or more individuals”. Baich goes on to say, “We have always known that Mr. Jones’ DNA could be on the bandanna because his DNA was present in his parents’ home where the red bandanna was planted. At trial, the prosecution did not object when the defense said Mr. Jordan admitted hiding the gun in Mr. Jones’ parents’ home”. Baich goes on, to sum up, the facts of the case and concludes with this, “The prosecutor’s files must be released in order for there to be public confidence in this conviction. There is much to do moving forward and we are confident that in the end Mr. Jones will be vindicated”.

If the State is willing to execute someone, then they need to be willing to lay their entire case out there for everyone to see. A life is at stake, not just pride of not wanting to admit someone could have been wrong. Shouldn’t we demand to know the right person is being held responsible, and the guilty person isn’t still walking among us.  A Michigan law professor and Senior Editor of the National Registry of Exonerations, Samuel Gross, conducted a study from 1973-2004. This study concluded that an estimated 4.1% of those on death row are most likely innocent. The study has never been disputed.

“If there is any glimmer that someone on death row could be innocent, we really need to dig in. It could happen to anyone. There are cracks in the system and people fall through it all the time and it happens way too often. We have to keep shining a light, shining a light.” – Julius Tennon Executive Producer The Last Defense

So what are your feelings about the results knowing what you know about the case? Do you think this is more of the same from the prosecution and the State? Or do you think less of Julius’s innocence?



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