Judge sentences Alonzo Johnson to consecutive life prison sentences in Neal Sweeney killing
BY Staff Reports
Friday, January 04, 2013
1/04/13 at 10:52 AM
A Tulsa County district judge formally sentenced Alonzo “Jack” Johnson today to two consecutive life prison terms in accordance with a jury’s verdict in December in the shooting death of Neal Sweeney.
Johnson was convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
District Judge Tom Gillert determined there was no basis to conduct a hearing or inquiry into the jury’s deliberations last month. On Thursday, Johnson’s defense attorney, Mark Lyons, asked the judge for time to research allegations that a juror was threatened and intimidated during jury deliberations.
A letter sent to Gillert in December, signed by a woman who identifies herself as a juror in the Johnson case, states that she was the only juror who didn't believe that the prosecution proved that Johnson was guilty. She said she voted with other jurors to convict "because they said we had to come to a unanimous decision."
On Dec. 12, jurors imposed two life prison terms on Johnson, 41, of Broken Arrow.
He also was fined $10,000. His formal sentencing is scheduled for Friday.
Jurors returned verdicts in two stages at the trial. In both, jurors were polled by Gillert, and all jurors indicated that they agreed with the verdicts.
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.
Prosecutors alleged that Johnson took a van from a parking lot in Muskogee after a man who knew Johnson - and who did not own the van - gave him a key to the vehicle, which was subsequently reported as stolen. Prosecutors alleged that the van was used by triggerman Terrico Bethel to travel to and from the shooting scene.
Mohammed Aziz, a convenience store operator, has said he paid to have Sweeney killed.
Retail Fuels Marketing had stopped regular delivery of fuel to Aziz's convenience stores because Aziz was not making payments, and the resulting lack of gasoline created major financial problems for him, testimony indicated.
Aziz pleaded guilty to solicitation of murder, and prosecutors dismissed murder and conspiracy counts against him. His deal calls for a 25- to 35-year prison term, and he is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 11.
Bethel and Fred Shields Jr. were convicted of murder and conspiracy counts at separate trials.
In this September 2010 file photo, Alonzo Johnson is lead to Judge Dana Kuehn's courtroom in the Tulsa Co. Courthouse. MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World File