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Stay of execution, new trial sought

Lawyers say there were forensic items from the crime scene that weren't adequately tested.

ALBANY — Attorneys for a man facing execution Wednesday in the brutal slaying of an Albany woman 17 years ago are asking for a stay of execution and new trial for their client.

Marcus Ray Johnson is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Wednesday for murdering Angela Sizemore in 1994. It would be the state’s first execution since the Troy Davis execution that drew international attention.

Johnson also has a clemency hearing scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday before the State Board of Pardons and Parole.

But his attorneys — Brian S. Kammer, Amy Vosberg-Casey and Lynn M. Pearson, all lawyers with the Georgia Resource Center, contend there are enough questions about Johnson’s conviction to warrant a new trial. A motion citing “troubling inconsistencies” was filed Tuesday in Dougherty Superior Court.

“Numerous pieces of physical evidence that do not fit with state’s theory at trial coupled with unreliable eyewitness identifications all point to a different perpetrator or perpetrators,” the lawyers argue.

The attorneys are asking for a stay of execution to allow for enough time for judges to decide if a new trial for Johnson should be granted, along with an order to preserve evidence and an order for post-conviction testing of DNA evidence.

According to the court documents filed Tuesday, Johnson’s lawyers offer affidavits from blood spatter experts and forensic scientists that may cast new doubt on Johnson’s conviction.

Chief among the new claims is that there were two different blood types discovered at the crime scene, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s report. Investigators found at the scene blood matching types A and O. Both Sizemore and Johnson are blood type A, lawyers contend.

Johnson’s lawyers also argue that investigators in Albany never conducted any testing on Johnson’s pocket knife — the item prosecutors believe was the murder weapon — and believe that the cursory testing that was done yielded no evidence of blood, or a mysterious black substance that was found in the stab wounds on Sizemore’s body.

Additionally, the lawyers included the affidavit of Pathologist Dr. Jonathan Arden, who stated that there appeared to be evidence that multiple weapons — including a single-blade knife and possibly even an ice pick — may have been used.

Johnson’s lawyers have also submitted to the court an affidavit from Dr. Marilyn Miller, who, after reviewing the case file and crime scene evidence, says that the “trace amounts of blood” found on Johnson’s leather jacket the day following the murder — blood Johnson says could have come from when he admittedly struck Sizemore in the face — would be in too little volume to match the copious amounts that would have come from 41 stab wounds.

“It is my expert opinion that there would have been a great deal of blood loss and transfer of blood from the victim to the perpetrator during this crime,” Miller states. “If Mr. Johnson was the perpetrator in this case, his leather clothing, jewelry and shoes would have been covered in the victim’s blood ... however only minute traces of blood were found on the left lapel and right arm of Mr. Johnson’s leather jacket.”

In the motion, defense lawyers also point to the fact that the one fingerprint found in the vehicle where Sizemore’s body was found didn’t match Johnson or anyone else in the FBI’s Automated Fingerprint Identification System at the time and that the only hair sample collected from within the vehicle was “a head hair of possible Negroid origin.”

No DNA testing was done on the hair.

Lastly, the lawyers are asking for an evidentiary hearing to discuss what they contend to be the illegal destruction of evidence by the Dougherty County Clerk. According to the attorneys, when contacted in August about the evidence collected in the case, officials in the clerk’s office told them that some of the evidence had been destroyed.

Johnson was convicted in Dougherty Superior Court in 1998 on charges of malice murder, aggravated assault, rape and aggravated battery. Sizemore’s body was found in 1994 in her SUV. She had been stabbed 41 times and impaled by a tree limb.

Witnesses said they saw Johnson and Sizemore leave a nightclub together. Witnesses also said they saw Johnson later boarding a bus alone.

District Attorney Greg Edwards, who was an assistant district attorney at the time and who was lead prosecutor during the trial, said Wednesday that he stands by Johnson’s conviction and believes Johnson did, in fact, kill Angela Sizemore.

If executed Wednesday, Edwards said that Johnson would be the first man from Dougherty County to be executed since 1954.

Comments

The_Dude 2 years, 6 months ago

Where's all the outrage over this one? Seems pretty similar to Troy Davis. Makes you wonder what agenda folks had last week.

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rock 2 years, 6 months ago

Angela Sizemore was beaten, stabbed over and over again, raped and sodomized, then had pecan limbs shoved up vagina so visicously it ripped her up. Does she a get do over? Fry this creep and let God find out if he is innocent. !994 she was killed, 98 he was convicted, 2011 justice to be served.

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Somebody 2 years, 6 months ago

Go ahead and execute him, then decide if he deserves a new trial...wait, by then it would be too late, oh well, too bad.

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carbonrob 2 years, 6 months ago

I know, let's call the NAAWP...oh wait, that doesn't exist. Well, maybe Al Sharpton or Jessie will come to his rescue.....yeah right.

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coachjohnson42 2 years, 6 months ago

He better get the same justice Troy Davis got.......

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truthsayer 2 years, 6 months ago

well as soon as their done with him they need to give his lawyers the same treatment. The only reason they do this is to bilk more money from the state on this case. Public defenders are a waste of taxpayer money. What's the saying ''if you can't do the time don't do the crime''. They have figured ''why not'', it's all taxpayer money anyway. His arse needs to be treated the same as he did Miss Sizemore. Later white trash.

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tbmuch 2 years, 6 months ago

I couldn't agree with you more truthsayer.

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b77 2 years, 6 months ago

If there isn't enough evidence to execute Johnson by all means he deserves a new trial. Everyone wants to turn it into a race issue because there was such a outrage over the Troy Davis execution but you fail to look deeper before you post your ignorant comments.

First of all it is no secret that blacks were lynched for unjust crimes in history if you do your research. In fact in 1828 Ida Wells, editor of Free Speech, a small newspaper in Memphis, carried out an investigation and discovered during a short period 728 blacks had been lynched by white mobs in which two-thirds were for small offences such as public drunkenness and shoplifting. I can continue on in detail with names of blacks that died due to unjust lynchings but that would be too many names to list. Unjust lynching amongst blacks has been a problem in the past and the recent lynching of Davis was a reminder that it exists today....

Now you ask why Al Sharpton or Jessie Jackson are not speaking out for Johnson..... Well I am pretty sure that Al and Jessie would agree that Johnson would deserve a new trial if the evidence isn't there however their primary goal is to ensure that blacks overcome the past and advance.... You see Mr Carbonrob "advancement" is meaning of the second letter in the acronym of NAACP.

With a little research you figure out that there wasn't a hidden agenda... The outrage was just a reminder of unjust punishments that our ancestors went through and even today struggling to end. Once again if there isn't enough evidence against Johnson then by all means HE DESERVES a new trial. The Davis trial hit home to alot of blacks because of history and we want to advance not go back to the past.

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firefly 2 years, 6 months ago

I wonder (again, just wondering) if there was less crime back then? Something certainly has changed.

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Parent 2 years, 6 months ago

Thank you for saying that. Some of the people on this site are so ignorant its a shame.

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truthsayer 2 years, 6 months ago

and what evidence do you think they might need? Ya'll need to understand the justice system.It isn't keep going to trial until they find me innocent, it is a trial by a jury of your peers, plain and simple, and when you are found guilty, the next phase is sentencing. Now to your comment about how the blacks have been treated in the ''past'', well first of all it has nothing what so ever to do with this particular case by no means, and you bringing that point up just shows the racist side of you. And ole Troy was guilty, read the facts, not the opinions of people who probally wasn't even alive when that happened, so get on your horse and find the facts in the case and read them, then make a judgement.

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The_Dude 2 years, 6 months ago

This has restitution written all over it. Nice try, but to call the Davis execution a lynching is just ridiculous. He murdered a police officer and was convicted of it. Sharpton's ilk and certain groups tried to ignore the original evidence and did a nice job of fooling people all over the world. Kudos for that, but it fell short. Davis, along with this crazy, deserve the same fate.

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Somebody 2 years, 6 months ago

I agree, they need to deny him a new trial. I hope the judges use common sense, and go ahead and put this jerk down.

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fcarroll 2 years, 6 months ago

If he is not executed, we will have shown just how right the blacks are, I am white and believe he should be put down as was the black man last week when he stated until seconds prior to his death he was innocent.

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waltspecht 2 years, 6 months ago

One, the Justice System didn't have much to do with the Lynchings.That's why they are called Lynchings, and not Public Hangings. These were outlaws, plain and simple, and many were charged and convicted in various Lynchings of both Black and White. The people that oppose the death penalty are those driving these long and drawn out affairs we call Death Penalty Cases. They have driven to cost to astronomical levels in efforts to prevent them. As far as Sharpton and Jackson they have both turned their back on the NAACP to create their own Empires. They spend most of their time advancing their own fortunes, not those of the Colored People.

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Trustbuster 2 years, 6 months ago

Because of a few droplets of blood this convicted criminal will be granted a possible stay from execution. How outrageous! He was the only person that accompanied her that night when the crime was committed. His alibi never made sense to the jury. He clearly deserves the death penalty. Ms. Sizemore's family has been awaiting justice for over a decade. No other evidence could vindicate him. Justice delayed is justice denied!

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