Convicted killer in Neal Sweeney case requests new trial, claiming jury misconduct
BY BILL BRAUN World Staff Writer
Sunday, February 03, 2013
2/03/13 at 4:48 PM
Correction: This story originally contained an incorrect spelling of Alonzo Johnson's last name. It has been corrected.
Read all the stories on the Neal Sweeney murder trial
One of three men convicted at separate Tulsa County trials of murder and conspiracy in the Neal Sweeney case has requested a new trial, based on allegations of misconduct in the jury deliberating room.
A lawyer for Alonzo "Jack" Johnson filed a motion for a new trial Friday, maintaining that verdicts were influenced by outside information, and intimidation and coercion.
Defense attorney Mark Lyons indicates he has been informed that one juror slept through the proceedings and another had information about Johnson that did not come out at the trial.
In December, a jury imposed two life prison terms upon convicting Johnson, 41, of Broken Arrow, of first- degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
After the trial, District Judge Tom Gillert, who presided over the trial, got a letter from a juror who stated that she didn't believe that the prosecution proved that Johnson was guilty and that she voted with other jurors to convict "because they said we had to come to a unanimous decision."
Attached to Lyons' filing Friday is an affidavit by that juror, Staci Petersen, which states that she was screamed at, called names and verbally abused during deliberations.
A month ago, Lyons filed a request to postpone formal sentencing so that he could research the jury matter.
On Jan. 4, Gillert declined to delay sentencing and ordered Johnson to serve two consecutive life prison terms.
Jurors returned verdicts in two stages at Johnson's trial. In both, jurors were polled by Gillert, and they all indicated 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.
Fred Shields Jr. and the accused triggerman, Terrico Bethel, were convicted of murder and conspiracy along with Johnson in what police and prosecutors categorized as a murder-for-hire case.
Another defendant, Mohammed Aziz, waived his right to a trial and pleaded guilty to solicitation of murder.
Original Print Headline: Convicted man requests new trial in Sweeney case
Bill Braun 918-581-8455