Guilty on all counts, Oklahoma City man who defended himself could get death penalty for 2015 murder

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – For two weeks, Derrick Laday tried to convince a jury of his innocence in a 2015 murder, but after less than four hours of deliberation, jurors decided he was guilty on all counts.

Laday opted to defend himself against accusations that he stabbed Dennis Johnson Jr. then led a group of his friends to help burn the body in Ada.

It was a difficult task that even practiced attorneys said they wouldn’t take on. His inexperience amounted to many sustained objections to his questions, and likely missed opportunities for objections of his own.

But even a confession to the murder by his older brother, Aaron Laday, was not enough to sway the jury.

“He’s kind of been like inconsistent but kind of cocky [in his] attitude, so I felt good about it when the state presented their closing arguments,” said the victim’s brother, Dennis Stevenson Jr.

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Derrick Laday

Prosecutors reminded the jurors that Aaron Laday had nothing to lose by claiming responsibility for the crime. They also spent time focused on the alleged systematic intimidation of witnesses who planned to testify against him.

Laday chalked up his loss Thursday to a corrupt legal system.

“They crooked as [expletive]. The judge let them allow extra stuff in every day of trial,” Laday said.

He will now defend himself in the sentencing phase of the trial.

On Thursday evening, the jury recommended three life sentences for the lesser crimes in the case.

Laday said he did not care what they sentenced him to because he plans to appeal the trial.

On Monday, the prosecution will present witnesses to support their argument that Laday deserves the death penalty.

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