Statement Analysis®

Did Julius Jones Murder Paul Howell?

This month, ABC's show 20/20, aired an episode entitled The Last Defense - Julius Jones. Jones had been convicted and sentenced to death for killing Paul Howell. On July 28, 1999, at around 9:30 p.m., Paul Howell, his older sister Megan Tobey and Paul's two young daughters were returning to the residence of Paul and Megan's parents in Edmond, OK. After Paul parked his GMC Suburban in his parent's driveway, everyone began to exit the vehicle. As Paul stepped out of the vehicle, he was approached by a black male with a gun who demanded Paul give him the keys to the Suburban. At that moment, there was a gunshot. Megan quickly ushered the girls towards the car port and began yelling for help. She then heard a second gunshot. Paul Howell had been shot in the head and was mortally wounded. The carjacker drove off in the Suburban.

On July 30, 1999, the police located the Suburban on the Southside of Oklahoma City, OK. The vehicle was parked in a grocery store parking lot. A police informant, Kermit Lottie, who owned a chop shop near the grocery store told investigators that Ladell King and another man came by the day after the carjacking asking if Lottie wanted to buy the Suburban. Lottie told them he didn't want the Suburban because it was associated with a murder.

That same day, the police questioned Ladell King. King told the police that on July 28, Chris Jordan drove to King's apartment in Jordan's Oldsmobile Cutlass. A few minutes later, Julius Jones showed up driving a Suburban. King said Jones was wearing a red bandana around his neck. The two had come to see if King could help them sell the Suburban. The following day when King found out the Suburban was associated with a murder, he declined to help them sell it.

On July 30, 1999, the police searched the residence of Julius Jones' parents looking for Jones. Jones was not there. During the search, the police found hidden in a crawl space above Jones' bedroom closet a .25 caliber semi-automatic gun wrapped in a red bandana. The following day, Jones was arrested for the murder of Paul Howell.

Jones' defense is that he was at home the night of the murder. That Chris Jordan committed the homicide and carjacking. That Jordan had planted the gun and red bandana in his bedroom two days after the murder.

The show didn't have a sit-down interview with Julius Jones. However, throughout the broadcast they did air comments made by Jones. If Jones did not shoot Paul Howell, then we would expect him to state that. One of the first comments Jones made was in regards to how his mother has been traumatized by this event.

"Most people don't have to live with the thought of, 'Wow, my son could be murdered for something they didn't do.'"

Even though Jones is not only referring to his mother but other mothers as well, he should not have used the pronoun they. He should have used the pronoun he. The pronoun he personalizes his statement; he is talking about himself. However, Jones couldn't say, "for something he didn't do."

Jones said that on the night of the murder, he was at his house waiting for his friend Chris Jordan to come get him.

"I really didn't have any idea how my life could change."

The word really is not needed and indicates untruthfulness about 50% of the time. Some people have a habit of using this word to emphasize something.

Rarely can a person honestly say, "I have no idea" or "I have no clue." Most people have an idea or an opinion on just about everything. Some people may use these phrases because they do not want to give their opinion. Deceptive use these phrases because they are trying to convince you they know absolutely nothing about what happened.

During his first year in college, Jones was charged with shoplifting.

"Just because I broke the law does not make me a murderer."

Jones gives a truthful statement. However, he does not deny shooting Paul Howell.

"I had nothing whatsoever to do with this robbery or this man's life being taken."

The only true denial is when the person denies the act. This is done by saying, "I didn't do it." The person can also be more specific and say, "I didn't shoot him." Anything else, such as "I had nothing whatsoever to do with," is considered to be a weak denial. Most people do not want to lie. When a person does lie, it is sometimes hard to tell a direct lie such as, "I didn't shoot him." Therefore, they will say something like, "I had nothing to do with."

The word this indicates specificity. Jones appears to be referring to robbery in question and the death of Paul Howell. However, he could have been more specific which would have been a better denial by saying, "I didn't steal that Suburban" and "I didn't shoot Paul Howell."

The phrase, "life being taken" is a nice way of saying, "killed." Jones should not be nice in his denials. He should be direct; "I didn't kill him."

"I didn't take that man's life."

Jones started out with a good denial, "I didn't," but then he used soft tone language "take that man's life." In his mind, that might be true; the bullet killed Paul Howell. A more direct and better denial would have been to say, "I didn't shoot Paul Howell" or "I didn't kill Paul Howell."

At the time of the shooting, Jones stated he was at home playing board games with his family. His family backs up his claim.

"I never went to Edmond that night. I'm innocent."

The word never in a denial makes it a weaker denial. This is because the word never means not ever. When a person uses the word never, he is often talking about his entire lifetime. It is acceptable to say, "I have never (in my entire life) gone to Edmond." For many people, myself included, that would be a truthful statement. I have been to Oklahoma City but I have never gone to Edmond. The problem with Jones' statement is that he said, "I have never (in my entire life) went to Edmond that night." Jones talks about his entire life and a specific night. This makes his denial confusing. Saying, "I didn't go to Edmond that night" is a good denial.

Deceptive people will often say they are innocent. This is because in our society one is innocent until proven guilty. This type of denial does not deny the act itself.

The prosecution said Jones had written a letter to his girlfriend from jail saying he was on the Southside of Oklahoma City when the robbery and shooting occurred. If true, this would exonerate Jones. The problem is, this contradicts his other alibi he was at home when the crime was committed. Jones commented on this.

"I have no idea where he even could come up with the aspect of me being on the Southside. I never wrote in a letter to her that I was on the Southside when the murder happened. I never said this."

As I mentioned earlier, rarely can a person honestly say, "I have no idea." The truth is, Jones does have an idea. He knows the prosecution is alleging he mentioned this in a letter to his girlfriend. He goes on to deny he wrote that in a letter.

The word even is not needed. The sentence flows better without this word; "I have no idea where he could come up with..." The word even indicates a contrast of ideas. In his mind, Jones may have been comparing he doesn’t remember with he does remember where the prosecution came up with this idea of him not being home.

He again used the word never and appears to be talking about his entire lifetime. This makes his denial sound odd as he doesn't address the specific issue. The best denials would have been to say, "I didn't write in a letter..." and "I didn't say that."

Jones' girlfriend testified at his trial that he told her he was on the Southside of Oklahoma City when Paul Howard was murdered.

Towards the end of the show, Jones gives the following lengthy statement.

"The night that Mr. Howell was shot, I was still at my parent's house. I was waiting for Chris to come and get me. I asked him, 'Man, where the hell you been?' Eventually he tells me they went to go do something and something didn't go right. The next day, Ladell King paged me. This is somebody Chris knew. And he was like, 'Well, would you do me a favor?' If you help me move this truck, I'll give you something. So, I'm like, 'Sure, I'll follow you.' But I never got in the Suburban. I drove Ladell's car. I followed him to the Southside, to that grocery store. And we ended up going down the street to Kermit Lottie's shop. And I never got out of the car. And he comes out and he looked spooked. He's like, 'Man, he don't want it.' Like there's a body on the truck or something. I'm like, 'What?'"

Jones said he was "still" at his parent's house when Paul Howell was shot. The word still indicates at some point he did leave his parent's house the night of the shooting.

In talking about Ladell King asking him to do a favor, Jones said, "he was like." The phrase he was like may be part of his vernacular. However, this phrasing is not as definite as saying, "He asked me." If a person says, "He asked me," we can believe he was asked something. If a person says, "He was like," we are not sure what to believe.

Jones said King would give him "something" for doing this favor. We don't know what he means by "something." This may be street language and Jones understood "something" to be money. Most people would probably state they were promised "money" for doing the favor. It is also possible the "something" refers to something illegal such as drugs.

Jones responded to the request by saying, "So, I'm like, 'Sure, I'll follow you.'" Saying, "I'm like" show less commitment to the idea he said, "Sure, I'll follow you." Saying, "So, I said, 'Sure I'll follow you'" is a better and more believable statement.

Jones denied being in the Suburban by using the word never. Saying, "I didn't get in the Suburban" is the best denial. He used the same language when talking about not getting out of the car. While there is no scientific research to back this up, I have found based on my observations, when people mention getting into or out of a vehicle, deception will often be present in the statement.

Jones said, "And he comes out and he looked spooked." Since he is talking about a past event, he should have used the past tense verb came. This is a slight indication this portion of his story was not coming from memory.

Those of you who are familiar with Statement Analysis may have recognized Jones had a change in language in regards to the vehicles he mentioned. Here is the order in which he mentioned the vehicles.


The first time he mentioned "truck," he was quoting Ladell King. Therefore, King is referring to the Suburban as a "truck."

Jones then referred the stolen vehicle as a "Suburban."

The next two references, Jones refers to King's vehicle as a "car."

In the last sentence, Jones changed his language and referred to the stolen vehicle as a "truck." Earlier, he called it a "Suburban." Unjustified changes in language indicate deception. Most truthful people will use the same language. If they view the stolen vehicle as being a "Suburban," they will always call it a "Suburban." It is possible Jones adopted King's language of calling it a "truck."


I read where the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals rejected Jones' argument that he did not get involved until he drove the Suburban the day after the murder. If Jones claimed he only drove the Suburban the day after the murder, this would contradict his statement in the television show that he "never got in the Suburban."

In 2017, Jones filed a post-conviction application seeking to have the red bandana tested for DNA. A partial DNA profile was obtained from the bandana. According to the prosecution, the major component of the DNA profile matched Jones. Christopher Jordan was excluded as the major component of this profile.

On July 9, 1999, Julius Jones robbed a jewelry store with a gun while wearing pantyhose and a red bandana over his face. On July 21, 1999, Jones stole a Lexus at gun point. On July 22, 1999, Jones stole a car at gunpoint. On July 28, 1999, Paul Howell was killed in a car-jacking.

The biggest indication Jones shot and killed Paul Howell and stole his Suburban is that in the television show he didn't deny it by saying, "I didn't do it" or "I didn't shoot Paul Howell" or "I didn't steal his Suburban." The closest he came to denying his participation in this crime was to say, "I had nothing whatsoever to do with this robbery or this man's life being taken." It would appear the jury got it right when they convicted Julius Jones or murder.

In response to the show questioning if Jones received a fair trial, the Attorney General of Oklahoma gave a summary of the "Overwhelming Evidence of Guilt." You can find his summary here.

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