Johnson Murder Trial Penalty Phase
"Having to really remember what it was like to get that phone call at four o'clock in the morning," recalled Marilyn Stanley, the sister of one victim. "And finding out that she was taken from us, and we had just seen her!"
And, Stanley added, "No person of any compassion, of any humane decency, could do something to three people. Not one, three people, and in the cruel and crucifying way he did it."
Fred Jones' cousin, and the sons of Mary Bratcher and Mabel Scruggs, testified Tueday in the re-sentencing phase of Johnson's case. The Missouri Supreme Court overturned his two previous death sentences because of questions about his illegal drug use and mental capacity.
"I'm hoping the jury is learning there are many faces of mental retardation," explained Tim Cisar, Johnson's lawyer. "And Ernest presents one of those, based on his adaptive skills and his intelligence level."
Johnson's relatives testified he was always slow and, they said, was abused as a child.
Relatives of his victims were not sympathetic.
"This is just another day for him. It'll never be another day for us."