Johnson denied bond in hearing
Published 6:52 am Monday, April 11, 2005
By by Tim Cottrell
Christopher Thomas Johnson, 33, of Atmore, stood before District Judge Dave Jordan Tuesday at the Escambia County Courthouse in a preliminary hearing where he was denied bond.
Judge Jordan found probable cause to send the case of the man who allegedly beat, bit, and asphyxiated his son, to a grand jury.
District Attorney Steve Billy, who leads the prosecution in the case, said things were moving along.
"We had our preliminary hearing Tuesday and the judge found enough evidence to send it to a grand jury," Billy said. "We still have to wait for a final autopsy and things like that before we present it to a grand jury."
Billy said denying bond was common in cases involving capital murder charges.
Johnson is accused of murdering his six-month-old son, Elias Ocean Johnson, on Feb. 20 in Atmore. Earlier reports have stated that Johnson has admitted to killing his son, but denies that it was intentional.
According to testimony by Atmore Police Investigator Chuck Brooks Tuesday, Johnson and his wife, Dana, had been drinking and playing Monopoly with another couple until the wee hours of the morning on the night in question. Further testimony shows that after the other couple left the house, Mrs. Johnson brought Elias Ocean to his father because he would not stop crying.
The father told Brooks that he had attempted to soothe the child with a bottle, and it had quieted him for a while, but soon he was crying again.
According to reports, Johnson then hit the child, placed a pillow over the child's head and laid on top of him, and even stuck his fingers down the child's throat to try to hold his tongue to keep him from crying.
In an earlier hearing on the case Johnson uttered the now-infamous remark, "I wish you would kill me like I killed him."
Judge Jordan was unable to comment for this story, and Brooks could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.
Billy said it could be a while before this case goes to trial.
"It'll be eight months to a year at the very least before this goes to trial," Billy said. "We're not sure when another grand jury will convene. One is convening next week, but we won't be able to present everything to them, so unless his (Johnson's) lawyer's file some different motions, it'll be awhile until he has another hearing."