Man gets two life terms in killings

Tuesday, January 29th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) _ A man convicted of killing two people in July 2000 has been sentenced to two consecutive life prison terms.

By state law, 20-year-old Leonard Dewayne Johnson may not get paroled until he is in his 90s, prosecutors said.

Johnson was sentenced Monday for the deaths of Bobby Perry and Janet Russell of Muskogee. The two were shot within days of each other.

Johnson has repeatedly told investigators and his attorneys that another man, Lonnie Murphy, pulled the trigger to kill the woman.

Murphy originally was charged with Russell's death. But Muskogee County officials dropped the count because he agreed to testify against Johnson and because they found no evidence tying him to the robbery and killing at Russell's home, according to reports.

But late last year, Johnson pleaded guilty to Russell's killing. He entered an Alford plea in the Perry case, which means he did not admit guilt but admitted that the evidence was sufficient to convict him if a trial were held.

At the preliminary hearing, Murphy testified that he saw Johnson shoot Perry.

Defense attorney Janet Bickel pointed to Murphy several times during Monday's sentencing. She noted that, prior to the crimes, Johnson had no criminal record while Murphy was on probation for a robbery conviction.

``There is absolutely no evidence he (Johnson) pulled the trigger, other than what Mr. Murphy said,'' Bickel said.