Sentencing hearing next
Published 11:13 pm Wednesday, December 13, 2006
By By Lisa Tindell – news writer
Christopher Johnson could be facing the death penalty following the completion of a pre-sentencing hearing.
Escambia County Circuit Judge Bradley ordered a pre-sentencing hearing, which is mandatory by law. At the completion of a compiled report and the hearing, final sentencing for Johnson can take place. Two possible sentences in the case are death or life in prison without parole.
The next sentencing session is set for sometime in late February, but officials feel that Johnson's sentencing may come sooner than that date.
Johnson was arrested in February 2005 and charged with the capital murder of his six-month-old son, Elias Ocean Johnson.
Following two and a half days of testimony by witnesses, Johnson took the stand and testified in the murder case.
Johnson told jurors that he intended to kill his son and was aware of his actions throughout the death of the child.
Johnson asked that the jury find him guilty of capital murder and also asked that they return a sentence of death in the case.
With less than a half hour of deliberation, the jury granted his wishes and found him guilty in the capital murder of the infant boy.
The jury then deliberated for about 20 minutes and returned a sentencing recommendation of death.
Johnson is currently being held in the Escambia County Detention Center as he awaits transfer to a state prison facility.
He told Byrne he wanted no appeals in the case, but any defendant in Alabama who is sentenced to death automatically gets an appeal.