Man sentenced to 30 years for manslaughter in UA grad student's death

Man sentenced to 30 years for manslaughter in UA grad student's death

TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - The man convicted for manslaughter in the shooting death of a UA grad student has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.

In September, a jury convicted Ricky Crooks on a lesser charge of manslaughter in the 2011 death of "Trey" Johnson from a stray bullet, as well as attempted murder and discharging a firearm into an occupied building.

Prosecutors say that Crooks shot at another individual from his vehicle toward the Buddy's Food Mart at the intersection of Hargrove Road and 10th Avenue on September 11, 2011.

The shooting occurred around the same time that 25-year-old James Harry "Trey" Johnson was walking from his vehicle to a friend's apartment at Sterling Crimson Apartments, which is near the food mart.

Police have contended that one of those bullets fired by Crooks hit Johnson and killed him.

The jury was not involved in Crooks' sentencing. Prosecutors asked Judge Brad Almond to hand down the maximum sentence.

According to the Tuscaloosa County District Attorney's office, the attempted murder charge carried a potential sentence of 20 years to life in prison.

The manslaughter charge and discharging a firearm into an occupied building/dwelling carried a possible sentence of 10 to 20 years each.

Crooks' attorney said he's been in jail for three years and asked for a 48 month sentence.

"I'm sorry from the bottom of my heart. I don't wish death on nobody," Crooks said Wednesday before his sentencing.

"God gave me peace. Whatever the judge decides I'll accept it," Crooks added.

Judge Almond sentenced Crook to 30 years on Wednesday morning. The three years he has already served in jail will count toward his sentence.

Copyright 2014 WBRC. All rights reserved.