OKC Man Sentenced To Death In 2015 Murder

Tuesday, April 6th 2021, 10:41 pm
By: Sylvia Corkill

An Oklahoma County jury sentenced a man to death.

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

Laday represented himself at trial last month, and Tuesday learned he would be sentenced to death.

For the family of Dennis Johnson Jr., Tuesday’s life sentence helped to put an end to an exhausting and emotional month.

“A lot of emotions going through my head just trying to contain them all, but hopefully we get justice for my brother,” said Dennis Stevenson.

In 2015, Laday killed Johnson in Oklahoma City and then wrapped him in blankets and trash bags.

He drove the body to Ada where he and accomplices dumped him under a bridge and set him on fire with gasoline.

911: Ada 911 what’s your emergency?

Caller: “I’m on Sandy Creek Bridge and there’s something underneath it on fire. I can’t tell if it’s a vehicle but it’s on fire.

Last year a judge allowed Laday to represent himself in trial.

“We're disappointed we had been concerned that Mr. Laday represented himself in all of the case but the death penalty,” said defense attorney Michael Arnett.     

Despite being sentenced to death, Laday's attorney and father believe the jury got it wrong.

“We believe he is innocent. We think we will be able to prove that on down the line. we plan to appeal the verdict and the sentence,” said Arnett.

“Death penalty is death I guess I know someone who's been through that, stayed there for ten to twenty years, and then fought their way out of there,” said Laday’s father Aaron Laday.

Laday's father imparted a message to the victim's family.

“I’m just sorry that it happened,” said Laday.