Juror Claims Threats By Other Jurors During Deliberation
A Tulsa courtroom juror claims she was pressured during a recent, high-profile case.
A female member of the jury in the Alonzo Johnson trial wrote a letter raising those concerns.
Johnson was convicted as a member of a murder-for-hire plot that ended with the murder of Tulsa businessman Neal Sweeney. He was formally sentenced to two, back-to-back life sentences and an additional 38 years of time on top of that.
Johnson's defense attorney Mark Lyons told KTUL.com that the juror claimed she was threatened to fall in line with a unanimous guilty verdict. He said he's planning an appeal based on the letter, and several other "flaws" with the case.
"The law is built on common sense and fairness and a fundamental sense of what is right and wrong. You shouldn't have jurors threatening other people into rendering a verdict. I certainly intend to pursue that and see what appellate rights there are," he said.
Tulsa County district attorney Tim Harris disagrees that the process was flawed, because the juror who wrote the letter had several chances to raise her issues.
"Four different times she had to think about her vote in this case. Once in the jury deliberations room so they could inform the court that they had a verdict, then out in open court, under her oath, she testified that was her verdict," he said. He explained her other two chances came in the same fashion due to the informal and formal sentencing process.
"To now say that she was now intimidated just goes to show you that people don't value their oaths," Harris concluded.