Warriors Star Connects With Death Row Inmate & Family

Stephen Curry Warriors

Getty Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry looks on during a 2019 playoff game.

Ahead of the Golden State Warriors‘ Tuesday win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, Draymond Green joked that he and Stephen Curry would be wining and dining on Joe Lacob’s dime. The Warriors’ trip to OKC wasn’t all fun and games, though.

While there, Curry and his crew showed their support for death row inmate Julius Jones and members of his family, the latter of whom were guests of the team at the Thunder game. Jones is currently awaiting execution for a crime many say he did not commit, and Curry took some time out to connect with him via telephone.

For the multi-time NBA champion, the whole thing was a sobering experience.

“Coming out of a basketball game, you’re celebrating a win in the locker room and then you’re like, ‘What’s it like in his shoes right now?’ It kind of checks you a little bit,” Curry said, via The Mercury News. “[It] gives you appreciation for the blessings in your life but also the work that needs to be done.”


Jones’ Case Has Drawn National Attention

Jones was given the death sentence in 2002 for the murder of Paul Howell during an attempted car theft, a conviction that came as a result of eyewitness testimony and physical evidence. The weapon that killed Howell was discovered in Jones’ family home.

However, his family has said that exonerating evidence wasn’t presented in the original trial, as noted by The Mercury News. Moreover, they say that the description of the killer actually matches another man.

Jones’ case has attracted national attention, with celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Baker Mayfield speaking in support of him. However, Howell’s daughter, Rachel — who, as a nine-year-old, was present when her father was murdered — believes that the right person is behind bars.

“I am very confident that the jury and appellate courts got the right man,” she said, via Tulsa World. “The facts and evidence are there.”

Still, Jones’ family maintains that he is innocent. And they were overwhelmed by the support shown by Curry and the Warriors.

“Having him know who Julius is and saying that he’s going to stay on board and fight for him, that means so much,” said Antoinette Jones, Julius’ sister. “And then he got the opportunity to say a few words. He said that was crazy, that it was so awesome.”

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A Stay of Execution

On Wednesday, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily blocked the state of Oklahoma from executing Jones and another inmate, John Grant. As relayed by The Norman Transcript, death row inmates in Oklahoma appealed a federal ruling earlier this week that had allowed the state to move forward with its first executions since 2015.

Defendants claim that the state’s lethal injection protocols raise challenges to the US Constitution’s Eighth Amendment ban of cruel and unusual punishment.

In September, the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board recommended that Jones’ death sentence be commuted to life in prison. Jones also has a clemency hearing scheduled for next week.

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