Quintin Philippe Jones is scheduled to be executed in Texas on May 19, and writer Suleika Jaouad makes a plea to save his life in a New York Times essay. The 41-year-old Jones was convicted of murdering his great-aunt in 1999 to buy money for drugs, and Jaouad isn't making the case that he's innocent. Jones admits to the crime. But "during his 21 years on death row, Quin has been the epitome of a prison success story," she writes. Through "prayer, sobriety, reconciliation with his family, and longstanding correspondence with pen pals, he has found a way to lead a meaningful life, and even to enhance the lives of others." Jaouad, in fact, counts herself among those "pen pals" he has touched. Jones first reached out to her when she wrote publicly of her battle with cancer several years ago.
“I know that our situations are different, but the threat of death lurks in both of our shadows,” Quin wrote at the time. “Try to stay as positive and as hopeful as possible, even though a lot of days that may be easier said than done." Jaouad runs through other relationships Jones has developed with people around the world. She also notes that his victim's family—which is his own family, too—has forgiven him, and she calls attention to his "brutal childhood mired in poverty, violence, neglect, abuse, and addiction." Jaouad is asking Gov. Greg Abbott to commute his sentence to life without the possibility of parole. "We make examples of people all the time," she writes. "But the greatest example that can be made of Quintin Phillippe Jones is that human beings are capable of redemption and reconciliation, deserving of mercy and grace." Read her full essay. (Read more death penalty stories.)