The Greene County Judicial Courts Facility. (Photo by Dean Curtis)

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A man police say was a known gang member recently pleaded guilty for his role in the 2021 death of 23-year-old Chandler Sweaney.

Timothy Johnson, 34, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and first-degree assault. He will be sentenced in a Greene County courtroom in October.

Police say on Feb. 1, 2021, Johnson and Paul Morales, 30, went to Sweaney’s residence at the 2800 block of West Chestnut Expressway to rob Sweaney’s roommate, Rickey Rose, who was a drug dealer.

Timothy Johnson's mug shot
Timothy Johnson (Booking photo by Greene County Sheriff’s Office)

Police believe Morales was the shooter. But Johnson was charged and convicted because of Missouri’s felony murder rule that a person is culpable murder if they commit a felony or attempt to commit a felony and another person is killed as a result.

Morales is charged with second-degree murder, armed criminal action and other weapons charges. He is scheduled for a jury trial in October.

Police say both Morales and Johnson were known members of the criminal street gang, Gangster Disciples, and both have criminal histories.

Victim’s roommate — an accused drug dealer — was target

According to court documents, Sweaney owned the home and used social media channels to find roommates. Rose was renting a room from Sweaney, but the two did not know each other prior to becoming roommates. Investigators don’t believe Sweaney was involved in any illegal activity. 

At the time of the shooting, Rose had been under federal investigation for months for drug trafficking and weapons charges. According to the federal indictment, the investigation began in October of 2020.

Sweaney’s mother, Shelly Larrick, spoke to KY3 in 2022, criticizing federal prosecutors for not acting sooner and arresting Rose before her son was shot to death.

“All of those people could have been behind bars with the same amount of sentence, same amount of time and my son would still be alive,” Larrick told the reporter. “Nothing’s going to bring (Sweaney) back but what his life meant is that we do better.”

Rose — who was shot in the leg during the robbery — pleaded guilty in May to second-degree murder for Sweaney’s death. The plea agreement provides for a 10 year prison sentence with probation denied. The terms of the plea agreement require Rose to testify truthfully in Morales’ and Johnson’s cases, explained Greene County Prosecutor Dan Patterson.

Rose will be sentenced on Oct. 18. 

Rose is also facing federal drug trafficking and weapons charges. 

All three men — Rose, Morales and Johnson — are in Greene County jail.

Jackie Rehwald

Jackie Rehwald is a reporter at the Springfield Daily Citizen. She covers public safety, the courts, homelessness, domestic violence and other social issues. Her office line is 417-837-3659. More by Jackie Rehwald