A Fresno man was found guilty Wednesday of first-degree murder in the shooting death of 47-year-old Leonard Greenberry, the father of Deontay Greenberry, a local high school standout who is on the Dallas Cowboys’ roster.
Michael Murray Johnson, 50, showed no reaction when the verdict was announced in Fresno County Superior Court. The jury of six men and six women also found him guilty of attempted murder in the wounding of Earl Perry.
Because he has a prior robbery conviction, Johnson faces up to 118 years to life in prison when he is sentenced on Sept. 10 by Judge Kimberly Gaab.
Prosecutor Noelle Pebet said Greenberry and Perry were shot during the early hours of Aug. 24, 2014, outside the Legion Hall in southwest Fresno. Greenberry had gone to the hall to celebrate his wife’s birthday.
Never miss a local story.
Deontay Greenberry, who played at Washington Union High School in Easton, was in his final season of football at the University of Houston when he learned his father was shot and killed.
At the birthday party was Fred Gray. During the trial, Gray testified that he knew both Greenberry and Johnson for years. He told the jury that toward the end of the party, Greenberry and Johnson exchanged words, but he didn’t know what they were arguing about.
He said Johnson left the party first.
When the party ended, Gray testified that he left the hall with Greenberry and two of his friends. Outside the hall, Gray testified he saw Johnson pull out a gun. He said he ran once he saw the gun, so he didn’t see the shootings, but he heard gunfire.
Pebet said Johnson fired six times at the two victims.
Defense attorney Michael Elder said he was disappointed in the verdict because Gray initially identified the gunman as having a ponytail. Johnson has short hair.
He said Johnson did go to the party, but when he left the hall, he went to a nearby barbecue stand and purchased food. He then went home. Johnson was out of town working when he learned through relatives that police were looking for him. He turned himself in to police two days after the killing, Elder said.
Elder told the jury that Greenberry had a knife and that he lunged toward the gunman. He said that evidence could be grounds for self-defense, but his client wasn’t the gunman.
“The jury convicted an innocent man because he wasn’t there when the shooting happened,” Elder said.