Johnson death sentence upheld
Published 2:39 am Wednesday, December 23, 2009
By By Adam Prestridge
During his trial in 2006, convicted baby killer, Christopher Thomas Johnson, told an Escambia County jury that he deserved to die for intentionally beating his infant son to death.
Johnson, who testified that he killed his six-month-old son, Elias Ocean Johnson, because he hated his wife, was later convicted on capital murder charges.
Dana Johnson, the mother of the child and Johnson’s wife at the time of the incident, testified that she had seen Johnson putting pressure on the child at their home.
The jury recommended the death penalty and the judge agreed.
Last Friday, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals issued a unanimous decision upholding the capital murder conviction and death sentence of the former Atmore resident.
Johnson, who served as his own attorney after firing his attorneys during the trial, refused to appeal his conviction, but the Court of Criminal Appeals was required by Alabama law to review the case. The court ruled that Johnson was competent during his trial and was aware of his actions.
"This court is convinced that Johnson's decision to represent himself on appeal and his decision not to file an appellate brief on his own behalf was knowing and voluntary,” the court said.
Johnson fired public defender Todd Stearns and co-counsel Charles Johns, at the end of the trial as the two were preparing for closing arguments.
Although an immediate appeal is typical when guilty verdicts are returned in capital murder cases, Johnson made it a point twice during the closing of the trial that he did not wish the case to be appealed.
Johnson also addressed the jury prior to the penalty phase of the case.
Johnson, 36, currently sits on death row at Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore.
According to Alabama Department of Corrections Public Information Manager Brian Corbett, the date of execution has not been scheduled at this time.
Corbett added that the attorney general requests the date and the Supreme Court sets the date.