by Max Brantley
Vertis "Sinister Wayz" Clay was given a life sentence today by a federal jury for killing Darryl Johnson. Prosecutors had asked for the death penalty for Clay, who was hired along with another man to rob and murder Johnson. Johnson was shot, bound, blindfolded, threatened with a hot iron, sodomized with a broomstick and repeatedly cut with a knife, the U.S. attorney said. His throat was slit and ultimately he was killed by a close-range .38 shot to the back of the head. Clay produced witnesses who told a more positive side of the defendant during the sentencing phase of the case.
Acting U.S. Attorney Jane W. Duke said: "Darryl Johnson died a tortured death that was akin to something you would see in a mobster movie, not something you would expect to happen in Arkansas. My heart goes out to Mr. Johnson's family because they will forever be haunted by the brutal way in which he was taken from them. I can only hope that this conviction and sentence gives them some solace."
He was convicted of conspiracy to distribute marijuana, conspiracy to use a firearm during a drug trafficking offense and first drug murder with a firearm in a drug trafficking offense.