Man Who Paid For Tulsa Man's Murder May Spend Less Than 25 Years In Prison

Thursday, December 13th 2012, 9:44 pm
By: News On 6

Right now, you could get more time in prison if you get caught a second time with marijuana than if you conspired to kill another human being.

Soliciting a murder is not an 85 percent crime, so with the upcoming sentencing of the man who pleaded guilty to paying $10,000 to have a Tulsa businessman killed, Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris will ask the legislature to change the law next month.

Harris said it's become obvious the laws against hiring someone to kill and conspiring with someone to kill need to be made tougher, so people who break them will get the harshest punishment possible.

1/30/2012 Related Story: Tulsa Man Pleads Guilty In Neal Sweeney Murder-For-Hire Case

Neal Sweeney was a husband, father and businessman.

When Sweeney and a customer had a dispute over an unpaid bill, that customer, Mohammed Aziz decided to try to pay money to have Sweeney killed. He made two payments of $5,000 and four other people worked in concert to organize the murder.

"What absolutely amazes me is that conspiracy to commit murder carries up to 10 years. Possession of marijuana carries two to 10, so you get more time to possess marijuana than to conspire to kill a human being. Absolutely unbelievable," Harris said.

When the case started falling apart and the star witness committed suicide, Harris had to cut a deal with the man who started the murder plot rolling.

He agreed to drop the murder charge against Aziz if he would testify against all the others.

"You had to go to the source to prove this, to obtain justice. I choked hard on that decision," Harris said.

That left two charges to choose from: conspiracy and solicitation. Harris ruled out conspiracy, since it would mean Aziz would only spend up to 10 years in prison. That left solicitation, which carries a sentence of five years to life in prison.

Aziz pleaded guilty to solicitation and his deal says he'll get 25 to 35 years. But solicitation is not an 85 percent crime, which means he could get out a lot earlier than the actual sentence.

12/12/2012 Related Story: Last Suspect In Neal Sweeney Murder Case Found Guilty

Harris said he believes it should be a crime that requires people to serve 85 percent of their sentence before becoming eligible for release.

"If I solicit Lori Fullbright to kill someone, I think that ought to be an 85 percent crime, if I can prove it. It's just shy of murder, and we plan it and solicit it and work toward it. It should be an 85 percent crime, and I think somebody just overlooked it," Harris said.

Harris said he understands prisons are at maximum capacity, but believes something can be done to release those who are less of a threat to society to make room for those who are more of a threat. He said anyone willing to pay to have another person killed is a threat to all of us.