An open letter to Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater
Dear Mr. Prater,
As your constituent, I certainly hope you have time to read and consider this letter. I know you have a time consuming job and a great deal of weight rests on you. With that said, I cannot, in good conscience, sit back, remain quiet, and do nothing.
Here’s what I know to be true: we’re human and therefore fallible by default. There isn’t a single person alive who hasn’t made a mistake because it’s impossible to live a perfect life. We mess up, but most of us are fortunate enough to own our mistake and have the ability to correct it.
This is the main reason I wouldn’t want your job; when you make a mistake, the impact on another life is heightened to a degree that is nearly life crippling. We’ve lived through the last several years where frequently news cameras are following an exonerated individual during their first seconds of freedom. The moment when a grown man weeps over a tree because he hasn’t seen one in a quarter century. We’ve seen the damage created because of mistakes made by people in your position.
We’ve also witnessed you be the kind of District Attorney, and man, to fix an error when you see one. Specifically, the cases of Paris Powell and Yancy Douglas. In fact, you dropped the charges against these men after discovering that the state’s witness was unreliable. You said, “Ethically, and on my duty, I could not proceed in this case and had to dismiss it.” Do you know that the same unreliable witness in that case is the very witness used in the Julius Jones case?
Up until Julius’ case was featured in the national spotlight, I had never heard of him. I watched in horror as the show portrayed the case in a very detailed manner. Of course, being the investigator that I am, I took notes and did my own research because I was convinced that a case this terrible had not happened in my back yard and I was completely oblivious. Sadly, everything I found proved the information in the series to be wholly accurate.
One thing I discovered is this case was not carried out under your administration. You can wipe sweat beads from your brow because this one isn’t on you. However, how you handle the situation is on you. Sir, this case is on the national radar now. Many individuals have their eyes on Oklahoma and how this case is progressing. Despite the DNA results, the momentum and movement created by Julius and his case isn’t going away. Most of us expected his DNA to be on the bandana; it was found in his house for crying out loud, but I digress.
“Those defending the murderer have disseminated misinformation and lies regarding the trial and the evidence in this case. We have never been afraid of the truth. The testing by the murderer’s own DNA lab corroborates the jury’s verdict and exonerates the investigators, prosecutors, and the jurors who the murderer’s defenders have slandered. The light of these results pierce the dark lies of the convicted murderer’s innocence.”
That was your statement given to channel five after the results of the DNA test were released. I want to know of these lies and the misinformation delivered by Julius’ supporters. If we are missing something, please tell us. Will you to correct the lies you claim are floating around? Was The Last Defense a lie? Was the information provided in the series false?
Here’s why I’ve decided to do my due diligence and write this letter. Do you realize the impact you would have if you stepped back, took an honest, and unbiased, appraisal of the case, and in turn possessed the fortitude to correct this injustice? You would almost be a hometown hero––the man who secured Julius’ release. I know, I know you just can’t do that. My one question is why? I don’t understand prosecutors and their inability to admit when they make a mistake. We don’t expect you to be perfect; we expect you to be fair and honest!
Is it not even a little bothersome that the same co-defendant served fifteen years despite what the DA led the jury to believe at trial? Does it not concern you that Julius was not defended whatsoever? Furthermore, is it not a judicial shame that the two attorneys Julius had, had zero experience in capital cases? I mean, they hadn’t tried a single capital case; heck, one of them was still in law school! Is it not even of slight alarm that Kermit Lottie is responsible for the wrongful conviction of Paris Powell and he testified against Julius? How about the other three DNA profiles discovered on the bandana? Or the eye witness description that matches the co-defendant and not Julius. Never mind the fact that Julius was home, alibied by each member of his family, who provided incredible clarity by the way, many miles from the Howell home!
The totality of those things, at the very least, should require someone with any bit of integrity to look into these matters! Do any of these things meet the burden for you to make an honest assessment of the facts? Facts, sir, not your opinion, just concrete facts! You weren’t involved! This is not your mistake! Why not look into the case and do your own investigation. You shouldn’t be the least bit worried because you’re convinced he’s guilty. What do you have to lose? You’ve done this before.
We cannot continue to kill people by means of lethal injection, or any form for that matter, without absolute certainty of guilt. This is not just a conviction, this is a matter of life and death for Julius. This is an unrepairable, life-ending mistake if you’re wrong. Don’t you want to make sure you’re not? His execution will be on your administration if you’re in error. That’s too heavy a burden to carry if there are any doubts in this man’s conviction, and I’m sorry to say, but there are more than simple doubts, sir, there is overwhelming, glaring aspects of this case that deserve someone’s attention.
I don’t know much, but I know a questionable case when I see one. I assisted in the investigations on the cases of the exonerated men from Tulsa and another case currently in litigation, also in Tulsa. I’m not asking for much; I just want an honest, unbiased assessment on this case, and if you hold the truth that the rest of us don’t know, that would be a nice gesture, too.
I will eagerly await the release of the “truth” you claim is out there or the results of your own investigation into the murder of Paul Howell.
Tiffany L. Gobble