Evidence testing approved in murder case

ALBANY -- Attorneys representing convicted murderer Marcus Ray Johnson can have a lab continue testing hairs for DNA and preserve any fingerprints on paper from the crime scene, Dougherty Superior Court Chief Judge Willie Lockette ruled Wednesday.

The ruling "allows the defense to preserve the paper for fingerprints and the costs must be borne by the defense," Lockette said.

"Let us proceed in increments," he said. "Without ruling out the eight (hair) samples not in any real dispute at this time, I am not authorizing any testing beyond them."

The dispute at the hearing arose when the defense attorneys found that any DNA testing of the paper found at the murder scene would destroy any fingerprints on paper found near Angela Sizemore's body on March 24, 1994.

From the argument of Georgia Resource Center defense attorney Amy Vosburg-Casey, it was apparent that the defense hoped to find evidence that Johnson was not alone with Sizemore.

That wouldn't exonerate Johnson, Dougherty District Attorney Greg Edwards said. Edwards added that the bloody evidence, witness reports and other facts he used to convict Johnson mean that Johnson killed Sizemore by stabbing her 41 times, six times in the heart.

The wait for justice has cost Sizemore's family, her daughter Katie Barker, of Chattanooga, Tenn., said after the hearing. She said that she could forgive Johnson, but she would never forget and that justice for her mother would mean Johnson's execution.

"I know my grandmother wants to go (to the execution)," Barker said. "I would go to be with her. I might not watch, but I would be there."

In 1998, a jury heard evidence that Johnson met an inebriated Sizemore in a bar and left with her. It convicted him of Sizemore's rape, torture and murder.

He was sentenced to death. After appeals, writs and other legal motions that went as high as the U.S. Supreme Court, he was scheduled for execution on Oct. 5, 2011.

Less than 36 hours before Johnson's punishment, Lockette stopped the execution so that DNA testing of material not previously entered into evidence or tested could be examined.

A lawsuit concerning the chemicals used in state executions would probably mean that Johnson's execution would be delayed past 2012.

Defense attorneys declined to talk about the case. Their organization's website garesource.org states the center is "is responsible for ensuring that all of Georgia's death sentenced prisoners have meaningful and vigorous representation at this critical stage of death penalty case review," noting that Georgia is "the only state which does not provide for counsel as a matter of right in post-conviction (habeas corpus) proceedings."


SMHgain 3 years, 3 months ago

I am extremely disappointed in Judge Lockette. This case has drug on entirely too long, and then at the last hour this murderer has been given yet another chance to divert justice. I feel so badly for Angela's family.


1d2ec 3 years, 3 months ago

Most people that kill others don;t want to die themselves.


VSU 3 years, 3 months ago

They can use a rope and hang the b@stard and not worry about the chemicals. He should suffer a violent execution just like the violent death of Miss Sizemore. Actually any execution wouldn't be as brutal as what he put Miss Sizemore through.


Cartman 3 years, 3 months ago

This murder was a tragedy. But the real travesty is stringing the family along for 18 years; and torturing them with the lack of any resolution. Mr. Johnson is a killer but the court is the family's tormentor.


waltspecht 3 years, 3 months ago

Once more the idea behind the whole thing is to ramp up the costs associated with death penalty cases to the point where no community could afford to persue the death penalty. That is what is really behind this. The few, and overall it is very few, that have been exonerated by DNA evidance represent an acceptable error factor statistically for our judicial system. Now I know if your one of the few, that doesn't seem acceptable. However, just what expenses are acceptable? Just how long should these things drag out? I believe in China, if convicted the accused is taken out and immediately shot with the convicted's family billed for the bullet and burial. Now that is Justice swift and sure.


Racc 3 years, 3 months ago

He dont deserve a second chance, he didnt give his victim a second chance!!!!


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