Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Impending Execution of Shannon Johnson

Shannon Johnson sits on death row awaiting execution by the people of Delaware. His execution is scheduled for 20 April. Though Johnson wants the execution to proceed without delay, his sister is attempting to secure a stay. I suspect Johnson will not survive the day.

I offer a summary of the crime from the relatively recent sentencing decision in
State v. Johnson (2008).
The Defendant Shannon Johnson was convicted by a jury of Murder in the First Degree for the killing of Cameron Hamlin, as well as of Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony (3 counts), Possession of a Deadly Weapon by a Person Prohibited (2 counts), Reckless Endangering in the First Degree, and Assault in the First Degree (both involving Lakeisha Truitt). ... 
The Defendant, Shannon Johnson, had a relationship with Lakeisha Truitt, from which was born a son. Ms. Truitt attempted to end the relationship on multiple occasions, because the Defendant was violent and unfaithful, and testified that she had not had a steady relationship with the Defendant for several years preceding the events that give rise to the charges in this matter. She did, however, continue to see the Defendant on some basis, including, but not limited to, effecting visitation with his son. 
From all appearances, Ms. Truitt had tried to move on with her life. She was a single mom, was employed, had purchased a home, and just prior to the initial incident in this case, began seeing another young man, Cameron Hamlin. By all accounts, Mr. Hamlin was a solid and sober individual, who had an interest in music, and was caring and thoughtful of his family. On September 24, 2006, Mr. Hamlin spent the night at Ms. Truitt's home, and in the morning, was in the process of taking Ms. Truitt to her grandmother's, where her son spent the night, and then was going to take his mother to church. The Defendant accosted the couple at a stop sign in his vehicle, and after some words were spoken, took out a gun and fired into Mr. Hamlin's vehicle, killing him. Ms. Truitt was not injured in this incident. She ran to her grandmother's, where she called the police, and reported the incident. Due to concern for her safety, she was advised not to go to her home until the Defendant was apprehended, but on November 10, 2006, she decided to go to her home and retrieve clothes for her son. On the way, she encountered one Rima Stewart, and had a brief conversation with her. As she was leaving her home, after having been there only a short time, the Defendant ran toward her car, brandishing a firearm, and fired several times, striking Ms. Truitt. To this day, a portion of one bullet remains lodged in her chest. The Defendant was later apprehended, and has been incarcerated since his arrest.
I object to any execution in which the person to be executed may be innocent. In other cases, I stand mute. Given that I find no one claiming Johnson is factually innocent of the crime for which he is scheduled to die, and given that Johnson has waived all further appeals, and given that Johnson wishes no further delay in his execution, I stand mute.