Suleski Found Guilty Of First-Degree Murder, Gets Life Without Parole
FORT SMITH (KFSM) — Jurors sentenced a man to life without parole after he was found guilty of shooting and killing a man while he was jogging along a popular running trail in Fort Smith in 2015.
The 12 jurors unanimously decided that John Suleski was guilty of first-degree murder and unlawfully discharging a gun. He was sentenced to two consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole.
Suleski shot Brent Morrison, who had been on a run in Fort Smith on Wells Lake Road, in July 2015.
The jury is listening to additional evidence and witnesses so they can later decide on sentencing. Two witnesses, both friends of Morrison, took the stand, followed by Brent’s wife, Diane.
“No one deserves to die the way he did,” Diane read to the courtroom. “I am heartbroken I am going to have to live the rest of my life without him.”
Both she and her late husband’s father cried after hearing the guilty verdict.
“Coming home to an empty house every day is torture,” she said. “He was the light of my life…I miss his laughter and silliness every day.”
Prosecuting Attorney Daniel Shue had stated that Suleski shot Morrison from the back seat of his vehicle. Investigators said Suleski was in the back seat because he had planned to take his own life. The defense argued that Suleski should not be found guilty due to a mental disease or defect
John Suleski’s trial began Monday (Dec. 19). Prosecutors rested it’s case at the end of the first day. During the second day of trial Tuesday, the defense argued and rested it’s case. Rebuttals followed before and after closing arguments.
The defense attorney called one witness, a psychologist, to testify. The psychologist said through compiling data and testing Suleski, she found he does not suffer from a mental defect, but does suffer from three mental disorders. While testifying she explained her theory.
She said Suleski has an IQ above average, so he doesn’t have a mental defect. She also testified the three mental disorder Suleksi has include major depression, Schizoid personality disorder and adjustment disorder with anxiety.
Suleski was tested 14 months after the shooting happened.