Jury Sentences OKC Man To Death After Being Convicted Of 2015 Murder


Tuesday, April 6th 2021, 5:30 pm
By: Erica Rankin


OKLAHOMA CITY -

An Oklahoma City man was sentenced to death Tuesday in connection with the 2015 murder of a man whose body was found burned in Ada.

The jury started deliberations shortly after 2 p.m. Tuesday for the death penalty.

Derrick Laday was convicted of four charges including first-degree murder in the 2015 death of Dennis Johnson Jr.

On Tuesday, the state and defense finished closing arguments in the case.

Laday’s attorney, who took over Monday after Laday represented himself for most of the trial, argued Laday has never had a chance in life. Starting back from his childhood being full of alleged abuse by his parents to the peer pressure of joining gangs for protection, Laday's attorney pleaded to the jury to show him compassion and mercy.

The state fired back and told the jurors Laday has been given multiple chances to do better, but has chosen a life of dangerous crime dating back to 2007. 

Now, for the jury to hand down the sentence of death, they must unanimously agree that the state has proven beyond a reasonable doubt one of three aggravators filed in the state's bill of particulars to be true.

Those are the defendant was previously convicted of a felony involving use or threat of violence to the person, the murder was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel, and there is a probability the defendant would be a continuing threat to society.

If the jury finds one of those to be true, they are not forced to hand down the sentence of death.