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Kerr, Steph urge justice in controversial death-row case

NBC Sports
Steve Kerr, Steph Curry

Eight days after he sat at the podium in San Francisco wearing a T-shirt inscribed “Justice for Breonna Taylor,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr was in Oklahoma City with the team on Tuesday wearing a similar shirt urging the same for death-row inmate Julius Jones.

Bay Area pastor Michael McBride, whose pursuit of justice has created relationships with the Warriors and 49ers, was in town for a clemency hearing on the case. With the hearing postponed until Monday, Nov. 1., McBride reached out to Kerr.

“He came over to the hotel with some of Julius’ family members and I was able learn more about the case,” Kerr said before tipoff against the Thunder.

Jones has been incarcerated since August 1999 after being convicted at age 19 of murdering an Oklahoma man. Jones insists he is innocent. The Innocence Project and numerous international figures, having studied his case, have rallied on his behalf. The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board last month recommended that Gov. Kevin Stitt commute Jones’ sentence.

After the Warriors held a practice on Monday, Stephen Curry issued a video statement via social media expressing his support of Jones.

“It’s Stephen Curry and I stand with Julius and his whole family, and pray that justice is served for our brother,” he said. “And that he’s a free man soon.”

Kerr on Monday night posed with Julius’ sister, Antoinette Jones, both wearing T-shirts urging “Justice for Julius.”

“There is definitely an awareness level of what’s happening. So, we are supporting his family, some of whom will be in attendance tonight.” 

 

More than six million people have signed a petition supporting Jones’ hope for innocence. According to the Innocence Project, Jones did not match the description provided by the sole eyewitness. Moreover, roughly 30 percent of the death penalty convictions under District Attorney Bob Macy have been overturned due to prosecutorial misconduct.

One juror in the case reportedly used the N-word in referring to Jones and suggested he be taken behind the courthouse and shot. 

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With Nov. 18 looming as the execution date, Kerr and Curry were compelled to make their pleas.

“It’s something we feel strongly about and support,” Kerr said.

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