Court: Conviction should’ve been for manslaughter

Published 2:17 pm Thursday, November 5, 2009

The state Court of Appeals has thrown out the murder conviction of John Edward Johnson and ordered him resentenced for manslaughter.

Johnson was sentenced to life in prison in 2008 in Jackson County for the 2003 slaying of Keith Franklin.

Prosecutors said Johnson was in his truck when he and Franklin got into an argument at the home of Linda Mizell in Moss Point. Prosecutors say Johnson shot Franklin while driving away.

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On appeal, Johnson argued the evidence didn’t support a murder conviction.

The Appeals Court, in a 6-4 decision, said Tuesday that Johnson was not the aggressor and had tried to leave before the shooting. The court said the slaying was in the heat of passion and, therefore, manslaughter.

The maximum penalty for manslaughter is 20 years.