Osage County District Attorney Mike Fisher last week dismissed a lingering murder case against Alonzo C. Johnson, now 47, who is a state inmate. The case concerned a 2008 killing in the Sand Springs area.
Fisher said there were both speedy trial and evidentiary problems. The district attorney’s office attempted to resolve the case by offering Johnson some kind of plea, but the defendant was uninterested in pleading guilty to anything, Fisher said.
The district attorney said Johnson is already serving two life sentences without the possibility of parole, and those sentences are stacked consecutively. Johnson has exhausted his appeals, Fisher said.
Court records show the late Larry Stuart brought charges against Johnson in Osage County District Court in June 2010 in connection with the July 2008 killing of Ronnie Raymond Barrett, 39. This was a case on which both the Osage County Sheriff’s Office and Tulsa police worked. The charges were first-degree murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, larceny of an automobile and possession of a firearm after a former felony conviction.
Fisher said he was the prosecutor who had the charges dismissed in November 2011, pending further investigation. Fisher said speedy trial considerations and evidentiary problems were the basis of that decision, as well.
Court records show former District Attorney Rex Duncan refiled the charges in December 2014.
Fisher said he has talked with Tulsa police detectives about whether evidentiary problems can be resolved, and they did not anticipate any change in the evidentiary situation. The charges were, however, dismissed “without prejudice,” which means they could theoretically be refiled.
The Journal-Capital had contact with Duncan about the dismissal of the charges against Johnson. Duncan disagreed with Fisher’s decision and said he still thinks an Osage County jury deserves to be presented with the facts and allowed to make a decision.
The newspaper asked Duncan how the case was still around in early 2019 for anyone to dismiss.
“A review of the record will show I tried every possible way to have it tried before a jury,” Duncan said. “The preliminary hearing took two and a half years to conclude as a direct result of the delay tactics of the defense counsel, all over my objections.
“In fact, I believe it was set for trial on several jury terms,” Duncan said. “Each time, the defense attorney managed to get it postponed. It speaks volumes, in my opinion, the defense attorney went to such great efforts to delay the case into the next DA’s administration. There were discussions with her about a possible plea agreement, all of which I rejected. The only option I had on the table was a jury trial, period.”
Duncan also said he thought the case was in good enough shape, from an evidentiary point of view, to go to trial. He acknowledged there had been a problem regarding the estimated strength of a DNA match critical to the case but said he thought a revised evaluation of the match would show it remained quite strong — more than a quadrillion to one.
Fisher declined to respond to Duncan.