Ashley County Man Receives 2 Life Sentences + 50 Years for Death of Expectant MotherNovember 30th, 2012 by Joe Burgess
Two days later he was involved in an automobile collision, where she and another passenger were severely injured, and an expectant mom in the vehicle was killed.
Johnson was charged with two counts of capita murder, and one count each of attempted murder and 1st degree assault.
After twice trying to pick a jury in Ashley County the case was moved to Drew County, where it began Tuesday.
The jury selection lasted all day, Tuesday, ending around 5 pm; however during their lunch break, Johnson pled guilty to 2 counts of 1st degree murder, attempted murder and the 1st degree battery charge. By accepting this plea, the death penalty was removed, since “capital murder” was removed from the situation. With the pleas in place, the jury was needed to decide the sentence for Johnson.
The prosecution presented their case, Wednesday, with at least 8 witnesses testifying. They rested around 2:30.
The defense’s case started Thursday morning, with the case being sent to the jury around 4 pm.
At 5 pm, the jury returned with a recommendation of a life sentence for each of the murder charges, 30 years on the attempted murder charge, and another 20 on the battery charge.
They also recommended that the sentences be run consecutive, one after the other, not all at once.
An anonymous juror told MLive that all of the jurors agreed on what they needed to do, but wanted to make sure it was presented in the appropriate way to the court. Factors that really weighed on the jurors minds were that innocent people were killed and injured.
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