Jury recommends life in prison for store clerk's killer

Friday, April 19th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ A Tulsa County jury on Thursday recommended life in prison for a teen-ager it convicted of killing a grocery store employee over some beer.

The panel found Tommie Lee Price, 18, guilty of first-degree murder for the July 31 fatal shooting of Jon Chadwick outside the Albertson's on south Peoria Avenue.

Chadwick, 36, was shot in the head as he ran into a dark alley after a group of people who fled the store without paying for beer.

Price testified that he pulled the gun and fired but ``did not intend to hurt anyone.''

``I turned and fired. I just did it real quick,'' he told jurors.

Assistant District Attorney David Robertson told jurors to punish Price severely for illegally carrying a gun and deciding to ``willingly pull the trigger.''

Evidence indicated that Price waited outside the store while three companions went inside, grabbed the beer and ran outside. Price said he fired the gun after co-defendant Khalil Abbus said to ``bust one.''

Price's attorney, Mark Matheson, asked jurors to be lenient toward Price.

District Judge Tom Gillert gave jurors the option of returning a verdict on the lesser offense of second-degree murder, but that was rejected.

Abbus, 18, is the only other defendant facing trial, which is set for June 3. Rex Chancellor, 19, of Salina, is charged with manslaughter and has been offered a deal involving a five-year sentence and a chance at a total probation.

Nicholas Delano Winford, 24, and Tony Lee Williams, 18, previously pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. Winford was sentenced to 15 years in prison, and Williams is expected to get a 13-year prison term later this month.

Price will be formally sentenced May 28.