May 7, 2019
You have to excuse my handwriting and mistakes. I don't have a computer or anyone to type anything up for me. Thank you for being understanding. Now I present to you my three-part series documentary, What Justice Is This?
Written by Jennifer Johnson
For all we know that justice means moral rightness, equity, fairness. The administration and procedure of law; a judge.
But what happens when you face justice yourself? In the end, you have to ask yourself:
What justice is this?
This is a three-part series.
What Justice Is This?
In the case of
March 8, 2019
What Justice Is This?
Michael Johnson, brother of Jennifer Johnson, co-defendants along with Jennifer Johnson's husband Christopher Morman, all were indicted on felony murder and cruelty to children in May 1997. During interrogation, we were not asked if we needed a lawyer. Jennifer Johnson, the mother, was interrogated for hours, longer than the co-defendants.
All three were dragged to trial by their public defenders. Was tried together and no pleas were offered. Michael Johnson, Christopher Morman, and Jennifer Johnson were found guilty on August 18-19, 1999. All cases were appealed to the Supreme Court.
Supreme Court of Georgia
Johnson v. The State
Morman v. The State
Decided July 6, 1998
Billy M. Granthams, Doral Sonville for Jennifer Johnson, Ernie M. Sheffield, Colquitt for Christopher Morman.
J. Brown Mosely, Dist. Atty. Bainbridge, Elizabeth Lewis Jaegar, Asst. Atty Gen. Paula K. Smith, Senior Asst. Atty Gen. Department of Law, Atlanta for the state
Johnson and Morman were convicted of felony murder and cruelty to children in the death of Johnson's five-month-old son, Joshua. Morman was convicted of two additional counts of cruelty to children related to other instances of physical abuse to Joshua. The trial court merged one count of cruelty to children into the felony murder and sentenced appellants to life imprisonment. Morman received two consecutive 20-year sentences on the remaining counts of cruelty to children. They appealed, and we affirmed in this consolidated opinion:
"In the sole enumeration of error asserted by both appellants, they contend the evidence was insufficient to support the jury's verdict finding them guilty of the offenses for which they were charged. The jury was authorized to find that on the evening of Joshua's death, the department was occupied by the three adults: Jennifer Johnson, her nineteen-year-old brother Michael Johnson, and Jennifer's boyfriend, Christopher Morman. In response to a 911 call placed by Morman, an emergency medical technician arrived at the apartment to find Joshua dead, his body lying on a chair.
In a videotaped police interview, Jennifer related that Joshua had been crying incessantly the day before his death and that when she fed Joshua at midnight, he was healthy except for experiencing a cold and some constipation. She alleged that Joshua was not breathing when she made a routine check of the infant at approximately 5:00 the following morning.
During her interview, Jennifer related previous instances when Morman had abused Joshua. These instances were corroborated by neighbors who testified to one instance where both Michael and Jennifer stood by and watched Michael throw Joshua in the air with such force, the baby vomited and placed Joshua between his legs to shake him. And another instance where Morman swung the baby into the air by his wrists until the baby vomited. Morman denied any knowledge of the cause of Joshua's death and also denied other abuse of the infant.
In his videotaped interview, Michael stated that his sister and Morman went to bed together at 3:30 AM, but that he remained awake until 4:00-4:30 AM. He eventually fell asleep watching TV. He did not awake until he heard his sister cry out at 5:00 or 5:15 AM.
These statements, however, conflicted with testimony by witness Snell, who lived in an adjacent apartment. Snell testified that she heard a baby cry about 3:00 AM and that the crying ceased after she heard a thump on the common wall between the two apartments. At about 3:30 AM she heard footsteps running down the apartment stairs and, at 4:00, she saw Michael walking on the porch outside the apartment, claiming to have heard him saying he did not do it.
Other witnesses who observed the appellants the morning of Joshua's death testified that Morman showed no emotion about the incident.
Police investigations testified that after they became aware that Joshua's death was not accidental, they went to Jennifer's apartment to secure physical evidence but could not find Joshua's crib. Jennifer informed the officers that the crib had been destroyed and thrown into a dumpster. It could not be located, even following an extensive search of the dumpsters in the area.
A forensic pathologist testified that Joshua was well nourished and suffered from no other disease except a cold. The external trauma was described as a pattern of bruising at the lower chest and upper abdomen, resulting from a combination of knuckle hits, blows to the abdomen, and vigorous gripping. Joshua's internal injuries consisted of a pulpified liver, a severe laceration to the inferior vena cava, and excessive internal bleeding. Joshua's internal organs also showed evidence of scaring as a result of previous traumas.
The pathologist concluded that Joshua's injuries were inflicted not accidental.
OC GA 16-2-20, 16-2-21: A participant to a crime may be convicted for the crime, although he or she is not the person who directly commits the crime. Id at(b)(3) and (4): A person who intentionally aids or abets in the commission of a crime or intentionally advises, encourages, hires, counsels, or procures another to commit the crime may be convicted of the crime as a party to the crime.
Sands v. State 262 GA. 367(2).418S.E.2d55: Mere presence at the scene is not sufficient to sustain a conviction of one being a party to a crime, but criminal intent may be inferred from conduct before, during, and after the commission of the crime.
Harper v. State, 155 GA. App.764(1), 272S.E.2d736 (1980): Whether Jennifer Johnson or Christopher Morman were parties to a crime and aided or abetted in the crimes charged, or intentionally advised, encouraged or counseled the other to commit the crime was a question for the jury.
Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319, 995 Ct. 2781, 61 L. Ed 2d 560 (1979): This court does not weigh the evidence on appeal or resolve conflicts in trial testimony. Neither is it the function of this court to examine the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict and to determine whether any rational trick of fact could have found the appellant(s) guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Booker v. State 257 GA. 37 38 W, 354 S.E.2d 425 (1987), OCGA 16-5-70 Jackson v. Virginia, Supra: Richardson v. State 177 GA App 48(1), 338 S.E.2d 506 (1985): Considering the evidence as a whole, especially the videotaped testimony, we conclude that the evidence adduced at the trial was sufficient to enable a rational trier of fact to find appellants guilty beyond a reasonable doubt as either perpetrators of/or parties to the crime of cruelty to children and felony murder. We further conclude that the evidence against Morman was sufficient to sustain his additional conviction of cruelty."
- The murder occurred between December 28-29, 1996 and appellants were indicted in Lecatur County on May 7, 1997. On August 19, 1997, Jennifer Johnson's notice of appeal was filed. Morman's notice of appeal was filed on August 26, 1998. Both appeals were docketed in this court on November 26, 1997 and submitted for decisions without nal argument.
What Justice Is This?
Johnson v. The State
No. 598 A0652
Decided September 25, 1998
Robert Michael Thomas, Colquitt for Michael Johnson, Robert Ray Auman Chief Asst. Dist. Atty, Cairo J. Brown Mosely, Dist. Atty, Bainbridge, Honor. Thurbert E. Baker, Atty Gen. Elizabeth Lewis Jeager, Asst. Atty. Gen., Paula K. Smith, Senior Ass. Atty. Gen., Department of Law Atlanta for the state.
Michael Johnson appeals from his felony murder conviction and resulting life sentence concerning the death of his sister's five-month-old son. Following a joint trial, Johnson, his sister, and her boyfriend were convicted in connection with the infant's death. Because we conclude that the evidence presented against Johnson was insufficient to enable a natural trier of fact to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that he was guilty of felony murder, we reverse.
The evidence of record, when viewed in a light most favorable to the guilty verdict, was sufficient to enable rational jurors to make the following factual findings:
On the night of December 28, 1996, Jennifer Johnson's apartment was occupied by three adults: appellant Johnson, his sister Jennifer, and her boyfriend, Christopher Morman. Johnson was upstairs with the baby at approximately 6:00 the following morning. Johnson placed a call to 911 emergency services. Johnson told the 911 operator that the baby was not breathing. When emergency technicians arrived at the apartment, the baby was dead.
It was later determined that the infant had been bludgeoned to death. Ms. Snell, who lived in the adjoining apartment, testified that at approximately 3:00 AM, she had heard the baby crying through the upstairs common wall between the apartments and that she then heard a loud thump. After that, she did not hear the baby cry again. Thirty minutes later, she heard footsteps on the neighboring apartment's stairwell. At approximately 4:00 AM, she heard Johnson on the porch outside the apartment saying, "I didn't do it. I didn't do it."
The next day, another neighbor saw Johnson outside the apartment crying and saying, "They just aggravate, just aggravate, just aggravate." Still another neighbor heard Johnson on the telephone saying that he did not do it.
When investigations went to the apartment to photograph the baby's crib, they were told by Jennifer Johnson that the crib had been destroyed and placed in a dumpster. A search of dumpsters in the apartment complex proved fruitless. The crib was not recovered. When questioned by police about the baby's death, Johnson denied any knowledge of it.
Thus, the state presented evidence that 1.) on the night of the murder, Johnson was downstairs in the apartment, 2.) on the night of the murder, two other adults (the baby's mother and her boyfriend) were upstairs in the apartment with the baby, 3.) Johnson called 911 to report that the baby was not breathing, 4.) neighbors heard Johnson say he did not do it and observed him being upset, 5.) Johnson denied knowledge about the murder and offered no help to investigators, and 6.) someone acting alone or in concert with someone else removed the crib from the apartment.
There also was some evidence to suggest that, on one previous occasion, Johnson and others had observed Morman toss the infant in the air, causing the baby to vomit.
In considering whether the evidence presented at trial is sufficient to support a criminal connection, this court views the evidence submitted in a light most favorable to the prosecution and defers to the judge's assessments of weight of the evidence and the credibility of witnesses. Even with the benefit of these favorable inferences, however, the state did not present evidence upon which a reasonable jury could have concluded that Johnson committed felony murder in connection with the infant's death.
Under O.C.GaKe-5-Kc) A person commits felony murder in commission of an underlying felony, he causes the death of another, irrespective of malice. A person commits the offense of cruelty to children, the underlying felony in this matter when he maliciously causes a child under the age of 18 to prove cruel or excessive physical pain. The state is, of course, required to prove every element of a crime charged beyond a reasonable doubt. In this case, the state failed to meet that burden.
Certainly, Johnson acted with malicious intent toward the baby or caused the baby to suffer physical pain. Now, was there any circumstantial evidence from which the jury could infer that Johnson mistreated the baby? It was shown only that Johnson was present in the murders, called 911, and failed to assist in the police investigation.
Since Johnson was heard saying, "I didn't do it," roughly hours before the 911 emergency call was made, it might be inferred that he failed to call 911 immediately after learning that the baby had been harmed. While it also might be inferred that he withheld relevant information from investigators, such conduct, while culpable, provides no basis for reasonable persons to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Johnson was guilty of bludgeoning the baby, causing in death.
As made clear by the recitation of facts alone, the state's evidence did not establish, or even infer, the existence of any of the essential elements of cruelty to children or felony murder. Furthermore, the state's case against Johnson was based entirely upon circumstantial evidence and the law is clear that unless the state's evidence excludes every reasonable hypothesis except that of Johnson's guilt, it has too failed to carry its burden to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
From the evidence, it is reasonable to hypothesize that on the night of the murders, Johnson was downstairs in the apartment while the baby was upstairs with Morman and Jennifer Johnson. That arrangement would be consistent with the usual sleeping arrangement in the apartment, that she could hear the baby's cries through the upstairs wall. Because Snell also heard the sound made when the baby was bludgeoned and the silence that followed, it is reasonable to conclude that the fatal blow or blows also were delivered upstairs.
No evidence exists, however, to dispel the reasonable possibility that during this time, Johnson was downstairs in the apartment, which is where he usually slept and had no knowledge of the attack on the baby until after it was over. Nor is there any evidence to suggest that Johnson had previously inflicted harm upon the baby or had been a party to such abuse. The state offered nothing to discount the reasonable possibility that Johnson did not contribute to the baby's death, other than his presence in the apartment that night.
Johnson's mere presence at the scene of the murder, without anything more, is not an adequate basis to support his conviction of that crime. Accordingly, we must conclude that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to support Michael Johnson's conviction for felony murder, with cruelty to children being the underlying felony in connection with the death of his infant nephew. Judgment reversed.
For the reasons set forth in my mayoraity opinions in Johnson v. State and Morman v. State, 269 GA. 632, 501 S.E.2d 815 (1998), I am committed to view that the evidence presented in this case was sufficient to support the jury's verdict finding Michael Johnson and his co-defendants guilty of felony murder based on the underlying felony of cruelty to children. Therefore, I respectfully dissent to the reversal of his conviction.
There is evidence in the record that Michael Johnson had been a party to or complied with the prior abuse of the baby. One neighbor specifically testified that she observed Chris Morman grab the 3-4-month-old baby by the wrist and swing him above his head until the baby threw up. This same witness testified that Michael Johnson was present when this occurred.
In addition, there was evidence that Michael Johnson lived in the home with Jennfer Johnson and apparently spent much of his time there as he was unemployed. Under such circumstances, his knowledge of prior abuse would have been the same as Jennifer's knowledge. Michael Johnson's own testimony shows that he was aware of past physical abuse of the infant by Christopher Morman and, after the infant died, lied to the police by denying any past abuse of the baby and depicting Christopher Morman as a caring adult.
This evidence that Michael Johnson knew of the past abuse and participated in the cover-up was sufficient to convict him of the crime of cruelty to children as a part of the crime.
I am likewise committed to the conclusion that Michael Johnson, a member of the household, knew as well as any of the co-defendants how Morman treated the baby and was lying about it when he talked to investigations. A participant to a crime may be convicted for the crime, although he is not the person who directly commits the crime. OC GA 16-2-20, 16-2-21
Because the law provides that criminal intent may be inferred from conduct before, during, and after the commission of a crime, I would affirm Michael Johnson's conviction.
What Justice Is This?
Two Main Events:
My fiancé, Christophew Morman, was at work, Elberte Crate. It was the day that I receive my children's food stamps. In order to do that, I had to walk to my post office box, which was at the Bainbridge Postal Office. Due to my one-month-old child Joshua having a slight cold and because it was cold outside, I decided to leave Joshua and his siblings, Wendell and Day, next door with my aunt, Shirley Jean King, while I walk to the post office. I went in, came back quickly. Normally, we are not too quick to leave our children with nobody except for his mother, Willie Eva.
So, I came back and got my children. We carried on with our normal day: eating, taking naps, playing games, just having fun. Well, it was about time for Chris to come home at 4:30 PM. So, I started to cook approximate 3:30 PM. While I started cooking dinner, I realized I needed some things to complete it. When my fiancé came in, he got settled, so I stepped out to Winndixie grocery store. Walking distance, short. I came back to finish cooking. We ate and talked about how our day was. The children always be happy to tell their dad, "Me and Mommy did this and that."
Then my fiancé Christ goes to bed. I bathe our children. The two oldest toddler I would put in the tub, and bathe my one-month-old in his little tub. We would all be in the bath at the same time because I have to monitor my two oldest in the tub. So, as I begin to do my normal routine (09-07-06), the two oldest had stripped and got into the bathtub playing with their toys. I begin to strip my one-month-old Joshua to bathe him in his little tub. I removed his little onesy outfit, and diaper, and then his socks.
I became hysterical as to what I found on his feet. Each foot had a blister. Who could have done this? Immediately, I was yelling for my fiancé to show him. He came. Said, "What happened?" I said, "I left the child with Shirley while walking to the post office." He fussing, "Why did you do that?" My brother came in, Michael. I dressed my baby.
We immediately walked Joshua to the emergency room. I got to Bainbridge Memorial Hospital at 6:23 PM. We got seen at 6:48 PM. When asked who smokes in the house and how they got there, I couldn't really answer because I was in shock. What person would do this? Okay, my Auntie Shirley and fiancé Chris smoked. But, however, I caught one of the toddlers playing with matches and lighters one day. So, all this confusion going on in my head. 'Cause no child abuse was going on in my house.
I was confused, hurt, and hysterical.
The ER doctor gave me Neosporin and reapplication dressings. To follow up with MD on Monday for a recheck. I signed a paper saying he was discharged with a responsible adult. I didn't know the Department of Children was coming or what.
I got back home. I was raising hell and shocked at the same time because, in my heart, I know I could trust my fiancé and Auntie Shirley. But I asked both of them, and they denied doing such a thing. Chris was saying, "Told you, stop fooling with that lady. Something was not right about her (my Aunt Shirley). Why did you leave the children over there?" I said I had to go to the post office. I had nobody else to keep them.
Well, behold (09-09-96): guess who knocks on the door of my apartment at 9:30 AM? I look through the peephole. It was Mrs. Mclemore, the welfare lady I had a terrible experience with when I was being molested, etc. I would not open my door because I had a nightmare about that lady. How mean she was to me. And how she put me back into the home of the perpetrator. It started all over again. I don't know if she realizes who I was, but I didn't open that day.
So, they sent a new case worker, Ginger Harris. I open the door. She said she was from Bainbridge DFACS. She was investigating the feet burning incident. Making sure we had food, safe environment, and good living arrangements. She asked about my fiancé. Behind the scenes, Shirley was telling all kinds of lies. We was being abused. I was scared of my fiancé. Basically putting it all on Chris.
The lady came out one more time. In the midst of all of this, we found out about my aunt being on crack. I said, "If I knew that, I would have never left my children with her." So, we stopped dealing with her. Period. Every turn she was trying to make, our lives was a living hell.
Nobody was charged with the feet incident. Till this day, nobody will confess up to it or has confessed up to it. What justice is this? What did I do wrong?
The confusion of my Aunt Shirley had gotten worse. She was trying to delegate everybody in the projects to get on her bandwagon, that Chris was abusing us and I was scared of him. In the midst of all of this, we was having problems with my mother, who I believed to be mental health related, and my brother Michael was bewitched by my mother. My fiancé Chris and I were not concerned about none of them. We was doing us.
In comes tax time. We was going to get us a triple wide trailer car and move out of the projects on our own. Get married on Valentine's Day. While planning, we constantly had to take Joshua (our one month old) to a doctor because he was constantly having a cold. His formula had to constantly changed. Dr. Lone, pediatrician, kept treating him for a cold. His hair was shedding.
Our apartment was often sprayed. But all of a sudden, we had sugar ants. Some of them bit all of my children. They had gotten into the old oak beds they had. Joshua's crib, which was made out of old oak. The toddler's bunk bed was made out of old oak. The ants were in some of the other rooms like the laundry room, our room. But I got the bugman to spray immediately.
So, we had all these issues going on. Confusion after confusion.
Chris, his mother, and I discussed with our church family about taking Joshua to a health specialist because he constantly kept a cold. His breathing was rapid and his hair was falling out. It seemed like he was not developing normal like the other children at four months. He could barely hold his head up properly. Something was not right concerning our child.
On the day of December 28, 1996, my fiancé said he was going to Cordelle's apartment, which I didn't agree with because Cordelle is a career drug dealer and troublemaker. Why would you hang out with a person like that when you're doing positive things? So, we got into a brief argument. There was no physical altercation like Shirley spread.
My fiancé did something that he had never done before. Stayed away from me and the children all day. I was sick and had a terrible headache all day. My brother Michael came over. He helped me some. Remained over at the apartment.
Chris came back to the apartment about 8:30 PM. I am like, "Baby, where have you been all day?" He said, "I been with Cordelle them." I looked at Chris. This was not my fiancé Chris. Yes, sometimes he smoked marijuana, but it was not the same look as if he was high on marijuana. I can tell he had been doing some other drugs. He was violent. His eyes did not look right.
He asked Day, Wendell, and I, "What do you want to eat?" So, we all went with Cordelle to get something to eat. We came back, etc. The children had already taken their baths. They all failed asleep on the sofa while Joshua fell asleep in my arms. Michael and Chris played the video game. So, I put the two oldest in the bed. About 11:30 PM, I sent Michael to put Joshua in his crib while Michael went upstairs.
Me and Chris had a brief conversation. I said my wisdom tooth been hurting all day. I took some Tylenol and Latex. I said my head been hurting. I said, "Joshua has been crying 10 to 15 minutes." I believed he had the collied. So, I gave him some Dee-Wee. Plus, he constipated. I said I think it's the formula.
I said, "What have you been doing today?"
He said, "We just been riding around and hanging out. I am sorry for staying gone all day."
"Have you been smoking weed, only because you don't look right."
"That is the only thing I will smoke."
"How do you know if Cordelle laced your joint or not?"
"I watch them."
"People are sneaky."
"Nah, they know not to try me like that."
So, now it's 12 midnight. Michael comes back downstairs from putting Joshua to bed in his crib. Michael sits back down to continue playing the video game with Chris.
I said, "Baby, I am sleepy. I got to go to bed." I kissed Chris.
He said, "I will be up there shortly. Let me beat Michael in this game."
I went upstairs. I check on the children. Everyone was okay. I went to sleep. Shortly after, I fell asleep. I felt Chris enter the bed with me. I got into his arms because that was how we slept. We fell fast asleep.
Early morning of December 29, 1996, I had to use the bathroom. So, I rolled out of my fiancé's arms.
He said, "Where you going, baby?"
I said, "To the bathroom and check on the kids."
I went to the bathroom, which is both our normal routine to check on our children. When we get up to go to the bathroom or we hear one of them get up. So, I entered my children room where all three slept. I cut the light on. I look at my two oldest moving around in their sleep. I look at Joshua. He was not breathing.
I became hysterical, screaming, "Somebody call 911!"
I grab my baby out of the crib, crying, holding my child. I want my baby, I want by baby. What is wrong with my child. No, he cannot be dead. Running down the stairs to the living room sofa when the paramedic came. I was so upset I couldn't really talk because I am not getting no understanding because he had been sick with a cold. Had been crying on and off all day that day. So, I thought he had collied. So, I gave him Dee-Wee.
Usually, when a child cries over 10-15 minutes, there is a slight possibility they have the collied. Meaning his stomach is upset because of the formula or something they have eaten. It's like adults having indigestion.
The sheriff, ambulance, and coroner came on the scene. I tried to explain as best as I could because I found my child not breathing and deceased. I was very hysterical and shaken up. I just couldn't believe my child was dead. The coroner pronounced him deceased of sids.
The Nightmare Begins
My brother Michael, fiancé Chris, and I were taken in for questioning of Joshua's death. We were told he died from blunt force injuries to the abdomen. First, his little feet were burned. And now this horrific act was done to him.
But who? Who? Nobody would say anything or even like they knew what happened.
I stayed crying all day and night. Chris would try to comfort me, but what good is that when you want your child back?
During my questioning, I was drilled for hours till the point I just began to say anything under the influence of coercion by GBI, Michael Walsingham. Why was I questioned the longest when I was the one traumatized?
So, Michael Walsingham and Wendell Cofer came back and arrest Chris. So, during the interrogation, they took my other two children, Wendell and Qay, placed them into foster care. Now they took my fiancé in jail. They leave me all alone and pregnant.
Then I get evicted out of our apartment in one day because I didn't tell that Michael and Chris were staying at the apartment. At least, that's what the tenant had said until I found out that my Aunt Shirley, Michael Walsingham, and Wendell Cofer were behind my eviction notice.
I was being constantly harassed by my Aunt Shirley, Jackie Thurmond, and my mom Linda Johnson. So, Linn Harren, Decatur County Sheriff's Office, came back to look at the crib. He didn't want the crib. I am trying to figure out what was supposed to be wrong with the crib?
Chris got out on bonds form being charged with Joshua's death. He was picked up again on February 11, 1997 on some charges along with me and my brother Michael being charged.
I was devastated and traumatized by everything. I constantly cried day and night, even in the jail, the more we got into the case. My public defender, Billy Grantham, was more for the state. He took advantage of my weakness. I didn't know anything concerning the law, and i was at my most vulnerable moment in my life because I lost a child to death and two other children to foster care.
Suddenly the red flags came up.
But no one was there to help during the investigation of the criminal case.
After being interrogated, Jennifer Johnson was taken back to her apartment (7F) by Detective Wendell Cofer. Said he had to take pictures of my apartment. But when we went to trial, Cofer lied in his testimony. He said he didn't know who took the pictures of the apartment.
Why did he lie to the courts during his testimony on the stand? Because he didn't have no search warrant to take the pictures and then he submitted illegal evidence to the record of our case.
During juvenile hearing for my children, Wendell and Qay, he told the judge that I missed several visits with my children's foster care parent. When it was the other way around. My mother-in-law Eva took me to every visit.
We would get there. Ginger Harris would be saying it in a nasty way, "I thought I called you to let you know that you're children are not going to make it to this visit." Me and mother-in-law were constantly by the phone. She lied. On numerous visits, the director Tim Green raised his voice at my son, Wendell. Several visits, the foster parents didn't show up with my children.
At first, my children were with Amma Bolden. This lady said that my daughter said we did it. She lied.
Behind the scenes, Michael Walsingham and DFACS worker Ginger Harris were picking up my daughter, Qayveyia, taking her to DFACS where they would try to brainwash her into saying Michael, Chris, or me did this to her.
How do I know this? I was on the phone with Amma Bolden's mother.
Amma Bolden told me I could talk to my children anytime because she would be at work. Her mom would be like, "They are taking her." So, when I go to visit, Qay would tell on them to Ginger's face. So, my children was moved to another foster parent's home. Then they were sent to my mother-in-law, Eva, where they would be raised till they got grown.
Character flaw - Wendell Cofer was on Channel le news while working on our homicide case for the investigation of his wife's death. Detective Wendell Cofer was allowed to continue his investigation even though he was being investigated for the homicide of his wife.
Lack of integrity and character flaw - GBI Michael Walsingham was willing to create a situation to get a conviction against my fiancé Chris. He labeled him as a drug dealer because of his baggy pants and starter jersey.
- GBI Walsingham lied behind the scenes to manipulate people to get what he wanted. When me and Chris were out on bonds, this man had people watching us and following us everywhere. People would tell me, "As soon as you left, this white dude in a white police vehicle came up behind you, asking questions."
- GBI Walsingham harassed my three-year-old daughter, constantly picking her up from foster care to interrogate her.
My fiancé Chris and I were sitting on a pathway in the country in Donaldsville, GA, not too far from his aunt's house. We was just talking and hugging each other when a green hunter jeep with bright lights tries to run the back of our parked vehicle. Chris cranks the car real quick while this jeep chases us to the city limits. It was GBI Michael Walsingham chasing us.
Later on, we found out for sure when Chris is trapped up in another criminal case. All of sudden, right before our case was supposed to go to trial, GBI Walsingham went to see Cordell Jackson once again at his mom's house. Walsingham had been trying to get Cordell to lie on Chris and get him in trouble. The whole time he was out on bond.
All of a sudden, the next day (sometime in May 1997), after GBI Walsingham's visit with Cordell, we get a call from Colquit Jail that Christopher Mormen has been arrested for robbery and aggravated assault.
Chris's mother Eva and I get to the jail. The first thing I see is the hunter jeep that tried to run into us and chase us to the city limits. It's Michael Walsingham on the scene.
Why? Cordell, Chris, and another boy were charged for supposedly robbing an elderly couple. Our pastor's husband worked at the same hospital as one of the victims that were involved in the case. She told my pastor's husband. GBI Walsingham said Chris was wanted for murder.
How you get wanted for murder when you out on bonds?
Michael Walsingham ended up being on this robbery case with Chris. The victims refused to come to court because they wanted Chris's case dropped. They heard about everything going on with us. Walsingham made sure that the state picked up the charges.
He was harassing me like crazy. There were people all on foot following me, sometimes with vans for surveillance. He was coming to my jobs. My hotel supervisor was told my fiancé was a drug dealer, which was a lie for me to be out on bail pending trial.
Not getting into any trouble, this man, GBI Michael Walsingham, was making my life a living hell.
The same for when I was out on appeal bond. I was being followed to church and work. My mom, Linda Johnson, who is my biggest enemy, was calling Michael Walsingham with false reports. She would be talking to me with false compassion, hoping I would say something to harm myself.
Questions and Answers
- Why was GBI Michael Walsingham and Detective Wendell Cofer lying and willing to do anything to manipulate the judicial system to get a conviction?
- How many other cases they manipulated to get a false conviction or to get a conviction?
- If witness Shirley King saw all this done to Joshua, why didn't she report it to the police before the murder? Why wasn't she charged with criminal negligence? Could it be that she was lying and over-exaggerating the situation? Why would she go around to the neighbors in the apartment complex telling them what to say about us when they were questioned? Could she have burned Joshua's feet and blamed it on my fiancé? Who is really at fault? Is she the violator here?
- Why was Evon Snell, Shirley's drinking partner and drug (crack) partner, testifying? Both of them get high and drunk. That's how they were connected to each other. So, what drove Evon to police to testify in court?
Because they had an encounter one day. Evon and Shirley got into a heated argument. I don't know if it was over drugs or alcohol, but Shirley went into her apartment, got a hammer, and began swinging at Evon and her daughter. Now Evon got planted in her head that this lady already got a hammer at me and my daughter. I better do what she says. So, when Shirley came to her saying, "You need to say this," she did it out of fear of Shirley.
Evon Snells testified that she heard a baby cry about 3:00, and that the crying ceased after she heard a thump on the common wall between the two apartments. We was in the same apartment. Joshua's pay and peanut room. We could walk out of our room right into the children's room. So, why didn't we hear this? When Joshua gets up (or when any of the children get up) we normally hear them.
I personally heard her daughter crying one night. There was a man right in the room next door. The next thing I know, her daughter was taken from her by DFAC and given to her family. I could have speculated, but I didn't.
So, if she had an open case at the welfare office, how was her credibility substantial with the state and DFACs if she had her own issues going on?
Her testimony was very conflicting. The morning of the trial, the DA Brown Mosely asked her if she was on anything. She said yes. She had been drinking. Guess what? They put her on the stand anyway.
In the appeal with the Supreme Court states, these instances were corroborated by neighbors (Shirley); only by two. Her daughter Dawnday Peak, who she told what to say, and Evon. But her other daughter Shaketa Peak backed out because she said she could not lie on us because I was good to them.
It was said that Shirley testified on one instance where both Michael (my brother) and I (Jennifer) stood by and watched Morman throw Joshua into the air with such force that the baby vomited, and that he shook Joshua between his legs. Another instance Morman swung the baby in the air by his wrists until the baby vomited.
First of all, there was no demonstration with a doll at the trial. This was a word-of-mouth testimony, which makes it hearsay evidence. I can say the moon is blue, but until I can prove that it is blue, it's just speculation. Putting a child on your leg more and up and down like they were riding a horse is not child abuse. Putting your child up in the air like they're riding an airplane is not child abuse. And they wouldn't cause a child's death.
Qayreyia and Wendell is fully grown. Nothing is wrong with them.
We played games with our children. Of course, a child is going to vomit if they're full on milk. I put Joshua in his swing winded it, and he threw up. You can put infants in their rockers. If they full on their milk, they're going to throw it up. You can lay them down on the sofa or the crib, and they'll throw up their milk.
That is not cruelty to children. This situation was very over-exaggerated. These instances were corroborated by neighbors who testified that the baby vomited, both between Morman's legs and when he swung him up in the air. This was over-exaggerated hearsay.
Other witnesses who observed (Shirley King) who observed appellants the morning of Joshua's death testified that Morman showed no emotion about the incident.
So, you tell me that people go to a funeral, find their loved one's deceased or died in a hospital, and because they're not crying, they're responsible for that person's death? Some people never cry about death. So, does that make them murderers?
Police investigators testified that after they became aware of Joshua's death not being accidental that they went to Jennifer's apartment and could not find Joshua's crib. Jennifer informed them that the crib had been destroyed and thrown into a dumpster. It could not be located, even following an extensive search of dumpsters in the area.
Linn Harrell from Decatur County Sheriff Office came to look at the crib after we found out that Joshua died from blunt force injuries. If this was the fruit of the crime, he could have taken it then.
Days later, Wendell Cofer and GBI Michael Walsingham boomed up to my apartment. "We need the crib."
I said, "Chris and Michael it apart and set it beside the dumpster because I wanted my baby. I didn't want to sit in and look at an empty crib. I didn't want to look at the crib and see me finding my baby not breathing again."
Shirley King said we destroyed the crib into several pieces and put it in the dumpster. That is a lie.
The crib was taken down the same way you put it together. It was not done out of malice. I wanted my baby. They could have had the crib. Nothing was wrong with the crib, it was in good shape. Somebody probably got it from the dumpster and took it home. I lived in Section B, where the people were in poverty.
In my family, when somebody dies, we get rid of their belongings because it brings back memories of hurt. That they are no longer with us. When my cousin's baby died, she got rid of his belongings but she was never charged with murder. When my great-grandma died, my mom got rid of her clothes. Nobody was charged with murder.
I am the one who told someone to call 911. In the appeal court, it stated Michael called 911 to report that the baby was not breathing. They gave him all the credit, as if he was the only one who cared that my son Joshua was not breathing.
Second, if mere presence was not enough evidence to secure the evidence and my brother was downstairs in the apartment, okay, me and my boyfriend were upstairs in the apartment. My children were next to the our room, close to our room. Is there a specific place the parents are supposed to be in the apartment when something happens to their child? If mere presence didn't matter, Michael should not have mattered for the parents.
But we're dealing with unseen forces because this is a child. Parents should know everything going on with their child. That is false.
You can't catch everything. You can turn your back for a split second, and something can happen to anyone.
My brother Michael and I walked upstairs just as quick as you all saying we could have done this because the child was upstairs with us (me, the mother, and the boyfriend, Chris). Neighbors heard Michael say he did not do it and deserved his acting upset.
What exactly is he talking about when he said he "did not do it"? Kill Joshua? Does he have all the answers to Joshua's death? If not, who? He might have not killed Joshua, but he knows what happened. What, did our mom Linda make it happen?
He was acting upset. Why? He didn't think this lady would go this far. What am I talking about? I'm talking about witchcraft and voodoo.
The night before I found Joshua not breathing, that Saturday morning, I walked out to a wet porch. It had not rained and it was not morning dew. Usually when somebody does that, it means they are using witchcraft to sweep you out of your apartment or home. There was a bat in the tree with witchcraft satchet powder all around my door and yard.
I was upset because who does such a thing like this?
Then I noticed some of Joshua's clothes missing. I didn't get no understanding of what was going on and why. Witchcraft workers have to have something tangible of yours in order to cast a spell. It could be your hair, blood, or they can hand you something that is already dressed to hex you. All this happened on that Saturday.
Then early that Sunday morning, I found Joshua in his crib not breathing, deceased.
Monday through Friday I went through hell. Dead child, lost other children to foster care, lost husband to jail, lost apartment in one day. I had to get everything out of my apartment (7F) because Shirley King told the landlord Mr. Lott that my brother and my fiancé were staying with me. Because they weren't on the lease, he evicted me.
During the packing up process for everything to be moved, I discovered my whole apartment was dressed with witchcraft. All behind the children's beds, closets, bathroom, and my water bed. The person who did this had to have enough time to do this. I don't have traffic in the apartment like that. Chris didn't believe in witchcraft and voodoo. Who could it be who was out to harm us?
My brother and mother.
I guess every one says "Why would your own family do that?"
When I first moved to the apartment, my brother has always been close but not my mother. So, my brother comes over one day saying that our ma put him out of the house because she wanted his whole McDonald's check. Michael said that's not right. I said it's not too. 'Cause all she was going to do is gamble with it. Plus, he worked hard for his money.
So Chris told Michael, "Let's go try to talk to your mom."
When they got to the home, my step-dad Johnny and our ma Linda were acting out of control. My mom immediately labeled my fiancé a drug dealer and called the police. All he was trying to do was talk to her about throwing Michael out and putting his clothes into a trash bag beside the road. There was no common ground when it came to Linda.
So, we took Michael into our apartment, not knowing that would be the beginning of our problems. Michael quit his job at McDonald's. Began trying to take over our apartment and children. We didn't ask him for his money. We was just being nice because that is my brother.
Everything we did good, even playing with our children, was twisted to be bad.
Michael began to take a lot of false gossip back to our ma Linda and our grandma Annette. So now, you got it looking like me and the children are being abused because we won't let you control our home.
It was all part of the plan to see what is going on in my home and what we're spending our money on. Because I personally didn't fool with my mom, especially after she stole my children's welfare check and cashed it. That showed me she did not care about our children. If it wasn't for their grandma, Williefra Morman, and Chris, they would not have had anything for that month.
So, my ma putting out my brother was a trick to find out our finances and news about our family. So, she could see how she could destroy our happiness.
Why would my own ma do that?
At birth, she never wanted me because she was angry with my biological dad Herbert. Something about cheating. He left GA to go to the military, and he invited her to come with him. She refused. So, when she had me, she dumped me off with my great-aunt Roosevelt while she goes back to Albany, GA to live her own life. She did the same with Michael.
She didn't really become active in our lives until I was almost 9 years old. She was smoking weed, drinking, and gambling then. When I was 8, she would introduce us to a new step-dad named Johnny Johnson. They both smoked weed.
When I was 9, suddenly my grandma gets a phone call.
"Your daughter Diane has to be airlifted to Lalahase, FL Hospital because she was found in the ditch with both ankles broken."
Today, she has pins in her ankles.
That very night, Johnny Johnson came home to start molesting me. I did't understand what was going on until I was 13 years old. When I discovered what was happening to me, I sat down and told our ma. She said I was lying and I was trying to destroy her family.
My dad went through 90 days of foster care to get custody of me. My mom stayed in this abusive relationship for over 20 years.
So, I came back to Georgia in February 1993. With no place to go and pregnant. She helped me get my first apartment. Then I got pregnant again by someone else in Georgia.
My ma was trying to destroy my relationships. She shocked me one day when she indicated that my step-dad got me pregnant. That let me know her mental stability. Something was wrong and still wrong. That is the most sickest thing she could ever have said to me. So, in her mind, I broke up her happiness by telling her what this man was doing to me. She was going to make sure that I was not happy in any relationship and not prosper. She wanted me dead.
I should have died at birth because both of us almost died. She had me as a dry birth. She is bitter with my dad, and I lied and said that her husband was molesting me. She hated me even more.
This case was a great opportunity to get rid of me because it will be like I am dead. She doesn't have to look at me.
Someone saw my mom since I've been in prison. They asked about me. She told them I am dead. But in her mind, she wanted me dead so bad. At the jail, my ma suddenly appeared for visitation. She said, "You're going to die. You're sick in your body."
Suddenly, I almost died at Washington State Prison. Thank god for the minister who picked me up. Somebody cast a spell for me to die. My mother, Linda.
When the average person talks to my ma, she seems like a pleasant person to be around. But in her mind, she's plotting against you, especially if you are well to do. She is very jealous-hearted and selfish and evil.
During my trial, everybody seemed confused because she had cast a spell to control the whole courtroom and appeal. That is how my brother was freed. She wanted me and my fiancé to stay in prison. She tried all kinds of tricks against our children and other family members. But thank god for prayer warriors.
I believe if the courts knew all the things I am saying, our case would have taken a whole new turn. The little while my brother was writing me. It was so confusing because he said I needed to change. I am still trying to figure out what I am doing. Nothing. The same with my brother Johnny who attacked my fiancé. He had to defend himself.
Michael is saying he knows everything. I am saying to myself I don't know everything. Don't know who burned Joshua's feet or who beat Joshua in the abdomen. I would like to know.
But what I do know is something ain't right with you, Michael. You, Johnny, and my ma. All three.
Every time we come up for parole, my mother-in-law is fishing for information about us. Why? What are you doing out there to harm us? Still. After you have bewitched us in prison? Who's to say all this is with Michael?
I feel this case should be reopened and investigated. Too many red flags with the prosecution and co-defendant. My brother, my mother, and Johnny.
How the law will violate your due process.
Due process doesn't mean you've had a full due process just because you're given a trial on bond or appeal in your case. When you're interrogated, nobody is supposed to coerce or threaten you. They are supposed to ask you, "Do you need an attorney?" Attorney is supposed to be present. No one should have their back against the wall.
I am a good mother. I love my children and anybody else's children. I was told that I would never see daylight again. Now, my children.
I was basically put into a vulnerable position. I was mourning the loss of my son, Joshua. I had found him dead in the crib, and I am the one who found his feet were burned by someone when he was only one month old. Till this day, after 23 years, I am still recovering and grieving from these incidents because he was my child.
Till this day, nobody will own up to their wrongs.
The first incident I left him with my aunt Shirley, who I barely knew, while I ran to the post office. That evening I left him with my fiancé Chris. He never had any child abuse problems since 1995.
So, to make a long story short, the detective took my most hurting and devastating moment to force me into a corner. To a self-incriminating statement. He told me I could not imagine being away from my babies. They took my children away anyway.
Shirley was used as a star witness. I believe Shirley burned my baby's feet. Nobody wanted to bring the feet up in court so the jury would know that this witness's statements were not credible. Even the judge and DA kept this incident out of the courtroom.
Our attorney(ies) failed to tell any good things about our character. All the state's witnesses got on the stand not because they cared about my son. They just wanted to destroy us out of jealousy. We were not allowed a second expert opinion.
My lawyer Billy Grantham said the state expert knew what he was talking about I said. He's the one who said my son should have been bleeding out of the mouth and diaper. Then he came back in and said that's not true.
Wendell Cofer were being investigated for the death of his wife, according to the channel news. But he wasn't removed from our case.
Our attorney(ies) never objected to anything the state had to say. My lawyer refused to suppress the self-incriminating video of my interrogation which was played in court. Which was admissible. There were never any search warrants. Illegal evidence was submitted.
My three-year-old daughter Qay was being harassed by GBI Michael Walsingham and DFAC worker Ginger Harrison. They were coming to pick her up from her foster grandma, trying to coerce her into saying my fiancé and brother did it. They told her we would never see daylight.
On every end, we were harassed.
There was a personal visit by the DFAC Supervisor Tim Green at my mother-in-law's house. He told me, "You all are going to receive a life sentence." This was before the trial.
Anything they could get away with, they did. Even planting other legal cases on my fiancé Chris. Clearly, they were going to maliciously prosecute us, even if they didn't have any evidence. All kinds of lies, such as me missing my visit at the Welfare Office. That was not true.
They miss those visits. When I got there, "Oh, we didn't tell you. Your children were not going to be here."
This was not a case of justice for my deceased son. This was a case of, "I am going to show you can't do nothing. I got you cornered." Detective Wendell Cofer told me, "Ain't nobody gonna help you. Not even your god."
Because we didn't know the law and this was our fist time in trouble, the state of Georgia had themselves a party through willfully falsifying, concealing, covering up any tricks, schemes, and material facts that were done through falsehood, fictitious, or fraudulent statements.
It's a lot of parents going through the same thing in our prisons all over the United States. Just because it's your child. The question is, is it really a murder or another fabricated story the states having a field day with? Is everyone beating their children? How many of these cases had the proper investigation? How many of these cases didn't have second expert witness to testify? How many of these cases the state tried to save money and hurry up malicious prosecution in a criminal case?
What justice is this?
The mother of Joshua Johnson
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