Neal Sweeney murder trial: Evidence of suspect not found in van
BY BILL BRAUN World Staff Writer
Thursday, December 06, 2012
12/06/12 at 3:51 AM
Alonzo "Jack" Johnson's fingerprints were not found in or on a van that he is accused of stealing to use as a getaway vehicle for the killer of Tulsa businessman Neal Sweeney, according to testimony Wednesday.
A Tulsa County jury also heard testimony that Johnson could not be excluded as a possible source of one DNA sample recovered from the van.
Forensic testing indicated that Johnson was excluded as the possible source of other DNA samples from the van.
The quality of the sample in which he was not excluded was such that no statistical profile was produced, according to Jon Wilson of the Tulsa Police Department's forensic laboratory.
Sweeney, 63, was shot once in the head on Sept. 4, 2008, at his business, Retail Fuels Marketing, 3158 S. 108th East Ave. He died the next day.
Johnson, 41, is on trial alone on counts of first- degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
District Attorney Tim Harris and his first assistant, Doug Drummond, will continue to present witnesses when the trial resumes Thursday.
Johnson denies any involvement in the killing of Sweeney, defense lawyer Mark Lyons has said.
Prosecutors maintain that as part of a five-man conspiracy to murder Sweeney, Johnson took a van from a Muskogee detail shop, and the vehicle was subsequently used by co-defendant Terrico Bethel in traveling to and from the shooting scene.
No DNA matching Bethel was recovered from the van, which was found by police in February 2009 at a Tulsa apartment complex, according to testimony.
Police said the case is a murder for hire, and convenience store operator Mohammed Aziz has admitted paying to have Sweeney killed.
Retail Fuels Marketing had stopped regular delivery of fuel to Aziz's convenience stores because Aziz was not making payments.
Tom Howell, who was a business partner of Sweeney, testified that the relationship between Sweeney and Aziz was "heated," with anger on both sides.
In May 2008, Retail Fuels Marketing obtained a $238,638 default judgment in court against Aziz.
Aziz is scheduled to testify as a prosecution witness at Johnson's trial.
In a plea deal, prosecutors dismissed murder and conspiracy counts against Aziz. He pleaded guilty to soliciting murder and has not been sentenced. His deal calls for a 25- to 35-year prison term.
Bethel was convicted at a trial and got a no-parole life prison term for murder and a 10-year term for conspiracy.
Original Print Headline: Evidence of suspect not found in van
Bill Braun 918-581-8455