Kim Kardashian petitions to halt execution of death-row inmate

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma - As part of her campaign to halt his execution, Kim Kardashian met with death row inmate Julius Jones. It isn't the first time the star has used her influence to push for criminal justice reform.

Kim Kardashian advocating for prison reform during an event at the White House in Washington, D.C. in June 2019.
Kim Kardashian advocating for prison reform during an event at the White House in Washington, D.C. in June 2019.  © imago images/Alex Edelman/The Photo Access

Jones, a Black man, was arrested for the fatal shooting of a 45-year-old businessman in 1999. He was just 22 years old when the court sentenced him to death for first degree murder in 2002.

Many people voiced concerns about the proceedings, claiming that there was a lack of evidence linking the young man to the incident. Julius has maintained his innocence, while his family and supporters have raised awareness of his case through their Justice for Julius campaign.

Jones' story was first brought to Kim's attention by the documentary series The Last Defense (2018) and she has since been one of his most vocal advocates.

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On November 23, the 40-year-old reality TV icon decided to take a step further. She traveled to Oklahoma City to visit Jones in prison.

The publicity had a huge impact. Jones' family told TMZ that their website had seen "a tenfold traffic increase" and the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board's inbox had been flooded with emails from all over the world.

Kim Kardashian uses clout to push for criminal justice reform

Kim Kardashian is planning to become a lawyer by 2022.
Kim Kardashian is planning to become a lawyer by 2022.  © imago images / PA Press

Kim's interest in criminal justice is no mere fad. The 40-year-old, whose father Robert Kardashian was a well-known lawyer, announced in a 2019 interview with Vogue that she had begun a four-year apprenticeship with a law firm, as part of her plans of becoming a lawyer by 2022.

Kim has also supported other prisoners. In 2018, she met with President Trump at the White House to petition for the release of Alice Marie Johnson, a 64-year-old woman who been serving a life sentence in an Alabama prison for a nonviolent drug charge since 1996. After Kim's visit, Trump granted clemency to the great-grandmother and she was released shortly after.

Most recently, Kim took to Twitter to highlight the case of a young Black man named Brandon Bernard. He was sentenced to death as an accomplice in the kidnapping and murder of two youth ministers from Iowa in 1999. However, it was later revealed that Bernard’s trial was unreliable and racially charged.

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In the two decades behind bars, Bernard has been a model prisoner, offering mentoring to at-risk youth amongst others. Nearly half of the jurors who found him guilty in 1999, are now regretting their decision and are calling for mercy, according to Relevant Magazine.

Kim detailed Brandon's story in a November 29 tweet. "In fact, Brandon was not a part of the initial carjacking that took place and was stunned when the robbery turned into a homicide with one of the other teens shooting both Todd and Stacie in the head," she wrote, and added he never received a fair trial.

Brandon's death penalty is scheduled for Dec. 10. Kim is now reaching out to her social media followers to help stop the upcoming execution by sending a letter to the Trump administration.

Cover photo: imago images/Alex Edelman/The Photo Access

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