A Wichita Falls man pleaded guilty to murder Thursday and was sentenced to 60 years in the Texas penitentiary system, according to an article in today's (Friday), March 14 Wichita Falls Times Record News newspaper. Clifton John Russell, IV, 19, was the man who stood in the 30th District Courtroom of Wichita Falls and confessed that he was the person who shot to death Muhammad "Mo" Ahmed, 66 at Mo's Grocery Store in January of 2012.
District Attorney Maureen Shelton credited the Wichita Falls Police Department and lead detective Brad Love with doing an excellent job on the case. Ahmed was a popular person in Wichita Falls and was owner of Mo's Grocery, 3600 Iowa Park Road. He was working that fateful day on Jan. 9, 2012, when two men reportedly attempted to rob his store.
After he was sentenced to the 60-year sentence Thursday, he was led handcuffed back to his residence at the Wichita County Jail where he has spent the last 793 days after being arrested. Russell was caught on videotape at the crime scene where he shot the defenseless storeowner dead.
Chief Public Defender Jim Rasmussen said his office was glad to have the case resolved. Rasmussen told the Times Record News that, "We are satisfied with the outcome."
Recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court affected the decision-making process in this case since Russell was 17 at the time he is convicted of murdering Ahmed. The land's highest court ruled the death penalty for someone who is 17 is cruel and unusual punishment. As a result the death penalty is now unconstitutional for 17 year olds who murder.
The U.S. Supreme Court also ruled that life without parole for capital crimes in the Lone Star State was unconstitutional for 17 year olds.
Shelton said the victim's family had been consulted with and was supportive of the sentence. She noted that the defendant will not be eligible for a parole hearing until after he's served 30 years. She further said there's no guarantee Ahmed will be paroled after 30 years.
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