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DA agrees to test items in Johnson case

Dougherty County Superior Court is in recess while defense lawyers contact death row inmate Marcus Ray Johnson about items that may be tested with modern forensics in the 1994 murder case. Johnson was convicted in 1998 of murdering Angela Sizemore, who was raped and tortured in the slaying.

Dougherty County Superior Court is in recess while defense lawyers contact death row inmate Marcus Ray Johnson about items that may be tested with modern forensics in the 1994 murder case. Johnson was convicted in 1998 of murdering Angela Sizemore, who was raped and tortured in the slaying.

— District Attorney Greg Edwards has agreed to forensic testing of bra and pants, along with fingernail clippings and hair of victim Angela Sizemore, in a hearing today for death row inmate Marcus Ray Johnson.

Sizemore was tortured, raped and murdered in 1994. Johnson was tried and convicted of the murder in 1998 and was sentenced to death by lethal injection.

Johnson’s execution was delayed last year when he asked for evidence to be tested by methods that were not available in the 1990s.

Edwards told Chief Superior Court Judge Willie Lockette Thursday morning at an evidentiary hearing, that the state had agreed to the testing because “the state believes that these items will further inculpate the defendant relative to this case.”

Less that 36 hours before Johnson was set to be executed, Lockette stayed Johnson’s execution so that testing could be considered by the court. Edwards then sent an assistant district attorney to Atlanta to file an appeal of Lockette’s order with the Georgia Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court upheld Lockette’s decision and a hearing was set for early this year. That hearing was delayed until Thursday.

Johnson’s attorneys argued successfully that the evidence currently in possession of the state hadn’t been properly tested, nor had it been tested using today’s sophisticated scientific methods such as “touch DNA.”

The evidence will now be taken to a lab in Virginia where extensive testing could be done.

Comments

Cartman 2 years, 6 months ago

The details of this particular murder are very grisly. The fact that Mr. Johnson is still breathing - is a sad comment on our system of justice.

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VSU 2 years, 6 months ago

Hopefully the so called new evidence will prove Johnson to still be guilty so they can put this sadistic madman to sleep once and for all so that the Sizemore family can finally get some sort of closure and put this behind them.

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SMHgain 2 years, 6 months ago

I can understand that this type of new testing was not available at the time this creep was convicted, why did his legal team not request the testing until days before his execution was scheduled? Milking the poor taxpayers so that is low life can stretch this case out to try to prove his innocence. What happened to his "daddy left when I was fifteen" excuse? Why was he trying to leave town right after the murder was discovered, if he is innocent? Why did he break out of jail if he is innocent?

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T_Paine 2 years, 6 months ago

As bad as the crime was, the very fact that there are ways to test evidence now that was not available when the case was first tried is reason enough to stay the execution until it can be considered. Especially if the specific testing is routinely done in the present. If it still implicates him in the crime then there's no harm done. If it proves his innocence than he gains his freedom.

I support the death penalty, but I also support due process and an individual's inalienable right to life, liberty and happiness, and we should make sure there is absolutely no doubt from a scientific standpoint that he is guilty before we take that right.

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CCBJAdvocate 2 years, 6 months ago

I'm just seeing this story: I hope the sentiment in these horrible cases is to check out all the physical evidence before an irrevocable mistake is made. My heart goes out to the family of the victim: I can't imagine a deeper pain felt than what they're going through!!!

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