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Sentence commuted for Oklahoma death row inmate supported by Baker Mayfield and other athletes

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Oklahoma inmate Julius Jones had his sentence commuted Thursday, and will not be executed. Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt reduced Jones' sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole after a number of people — including athletes and celebrities — publicly advocated for Jones.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield choked up Wednesday while explaining why he supports Jones' sentence being commuted. 

Mayfield responded to Thursday's news by thanking everyone who fought for Jones.

Mayfield is not the only athlete who expressed support for Jones. Blake Griffin, Buddy Hield, Russell Westbrook and Trae Young all wrote letters to Stitt asking for Jones' death sentence to be commuted. Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott also wrote a letter to Stitt.

Prescott reacted to the news as well, saying he was "very thankful" Stitt commuted Jones' sentence. 

Prescott said he would keep fighting for Jones to try and get the "case looked at again."

Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers talked about Jones after their win against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night, and credited Mayfield, Prescott and other athletes for saving Jones' life.

Jones, 41, was charged and convicted with the murder of Paul Howell during a 1999 carjacking. Jones claims he is innocent, and that his co-defendant, Christopher Jordan, was responsible for shooting Howell. Jordan was released from prison after 15 years as part of a plea deal.

Jones was due to be executed Thursday. Stitt made the decision to commute Jones' sentence hours before the scheduled execution. In a statement, Stitt said he did so after "reviewing materials presented by all sides." 

In addition to letters and statements by athletes, over six million people signed a petition asking that Jones not be executed.

Julius Jones had his sentence commuted to life in prison without parole Thursday. (Oklahoma Department of Corrections via AP, File)
Julius Jones had his sentence commuted to life in prison without parole Thursday. (Oklahoma Department of Corrections via AP, File)
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