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Jury sentences man to life sentence

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Associated Press

ENID, Okla. (AP) -- A jury in Garfield County returned a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole Monday to a 57-year-old man convicted of first-degree murder.

The jury took less than an hour to return the sentence to Jessie Floyd Johns in the murder of Amber Matthews in 2005. Prosecutors had sought the death penalty in the murder case.

Johns showed no emotion as the sentence was handed down by the five-man, seven-woman jury. Formal sentencing is set for July 22 in Watonga.

The same jury deliberated about 45 minutes on Friday before finding Johns guilty in the case. Johns also was found not guilty of shooting with intent to kill for the wounding of Lauren Drue Kopf.

He was found guilty of grand larceny for the theft of a four-wheeler as a getaway vehicle in the Nov. 3, 2005, robbery of Kopfs Blaine County home that turned deadly for Matthews.

Wendell Arden Grissom, 39, was convicted in March of first-degree murder, shooting with intent to kill, grand larceny and possessing a firearm after former felony conviction for the role he played as gunman in the deadly robbery.

Prosecutors alleged that the death penalty was warranted because Johns has a prior felony offense involving the use or threat of violence. Johns was convicted in Georgia in 1983 of aggravated assault for shooting his ex-wife, Debra Dunn, with a pistol. He was sentenced 10 years in prison with the Georgia Department of Corrections.

Prosecutors said he also knowingly created a great risk of death to more than one person for the role he played in the robbery of Kopfs home.

Johns was accused of helping Wendell Arden Grissom burst into Lauren Kopf's home near Watonga in an attempt to rob her and Matthews. Grissom shot Kopf four times before she escaped in Grissom's vehicle, leaving Matthews and her two children at her home.

Grissom shot Matthews twice, killing her, before taking a four-wheeler on which he and Johns fled. A jury convicted Grissom March 4 of first-degree murder, shooting with intent to kill, grand larceny and possessing a firearm after former felony conviction. He was sentenced to death.

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