Defense Witnesses Testify in Johnson Case

1 decade 8 months 1 week ago Thursday, March 29 2007 Mar 29, 2007 Thursday, March 29, 2007 4:27:41 PM CDT March 29, 2007 in News

The defense spent the day calling on people from Johnson's past, including two of his former teachers and a boyhood friend who testified Johnson was a slow learner who had a hard time in school.

"He wasn't really good at all," said teacher Steven Mason. "He struggled in the class. He didn't really understand the instructions, and he pretty much had a hard time doing everything we did in class."

Art teacher Robin Seebaugh repeatedly asked school couselors what Johnson was doing in his mainstream class.

"I know from the 4th through the 8th grade he had been in special education classes," Seebaugh said.

"They wouldn't let him play, because he didn't understand how we was playing and what we was doing at the time," said friend Richard Frazier.

The defense also called witnesses who discussed Johnson's cocaine use.

"When your mood is already down, then the cocaine can make you do irrational things," explained forensic pyschiatrist Sam Parwatikar. "And I think that did contribute to the delirious state."

The Missouri Supreme Court overturned Johnson's two previous death sentences because of questions about his illegal drug use and mental capacity. The defense hopes this jury sentences Johnson to life in prison without parole, instead of a third death sentence.

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