Jakeem Towles, Pennsylvania


Update: Monday, July 27, 2015, 11:01 am EDT

Jakeem Lydell Towles was scheduled to be executed at 7pm EDT, on Tuesday, August 11, 2015, at the State Correctional Institute Rockview in Rockview, Pennsylvania. Jakeem has been granted a stay of execution. Twenty-five-year-old Jakeem is convicted of killing 20-year-old aspiring rapper Cornell “Young E-Z” Stewart, on May 7, 2010, in Columbia, Pennsylvania. Jakeem has spent the last 3 years on Pennsylvania’s death row.

Jakeem was granted a stay of execution by the Lancaster Country Court of Common Pleas on July 7, 2015.

Jakeem grew up without a stable male presence in the house. His mother abused drugs and alcohol, frequently bringing men home who were violent and also drug and alcohol abusers. Growing up, Jakeem lived in a chaotic, unstable, and violent environment.

On May 7, 2010, Jakeem Towles and Antwain Robinson took a bus from Lancaster, Pennsylvania to Columbia, Pennsylvania to visit Towle’ cousin Tyrone Hunter and to attend a local rap performance. Towles and Robinson spent the night alternating between attending the concert and drinking and smoking marijuana in Hunter’s apartment.


On one visit to the apartment, Towles took Hunter’s handgun from the apartment and hid it near the concert location. Upon returning to the concert, Towles interrupted the performance by grabbing a microphone. Towles and Robinson were escorted out of the concert. Towles retrieved the hidden handgun, and went behind the concert venue, where he fired three shots. One of the shots hit performer Cornell Stewart in the head, killing him.


Towles and Robinson fled from the scene, obtaining a ride back to Lancaster. During the ride, Towles is reported to have made several incriminating statements and ordered everyone in the vehicle not to talk. Towles later alleged that he was being pursued and only fired the gun in self-defense.


On Friday, February 13, 2015, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced a moratorium on executions in the state, until he receives and reviews a report on capital punishment in the state, a report which was ordered in 2011. In his announcement, he called the death penalty in Pennsylvania a "flawed system," "ineffective," "unjust," and "expensive." The governor will continue to issue stay of executions until all problems in the report are satisfactorily addressed. Read more about the announcement here.


Due to Governor’s Wolf’s decision, he has refused to sign any execution warrants. Jakeem's notice of execution was issued by Department of Corrections Secretary John Wentzel, which is in accordance with state law. State law requires the corrections secretary to issue an execution notice if the governor does not sign a warrant within a specific time frame.


Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Cornell Stewart. Please pray for strength for the family of Jakeem. Please pray that if Jakeem is innocent or lacks the mental competency to be executed, evidence will be presented prior to his execution. Please pray that Jakeem will come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already found one.



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