LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A former California Highway Patrol officer was convicted Monday of first-degree murder for shooting her husband, collapsing in the courtroom when the verdict was read.
Paramedics were summoned to the Criminal Courts Building in downtown Los Angeles when Tomiekia Johnson, 32, crumpled in the courtroom after a clerk read the jury’s verdict.
All spectators were cleared from the courtroom, creating an emotional scene with sobbing relatives.
Johnson insisted during the trial that the shooting of her 31-year-old husband, Marcus Lavar Lemons, on Feb. 21, 2009, was an accident.
“Did you want to fire that weapon?” defense attorney Darryl A. Stallworth asked his client.
“No,” she responded.
“Did you want to kill your husband?” her lawyer asked.
“No,” she said.
Lemons was shot once in the head.
Johnson — who was off-duty at the time of the shooting — told jurors that she pulled off the Riverside (91) Freeway at the Central Avenue offramp when her husband threatened to kill her and began choking her after berating her for speaking to a male childhood friend at a T.G.I. Friday’s restaurant in Compton.
She said she told him to get out of her BMW and he responded by telling her that she could walk home and grabbed the keys out of the ignition. She said she started running away from the car and then stopped, worrying that he might get a gun out of her purse and shoot her.
“I saw the gun on the ground. I made the decision to go run and get it,” Johnson said, adding her husband seemed to be looking for the weapon. “I was scared. I didn’t want to die … When I grabbed it tight, it fired.”
On cross-examination by Deputy District Attorney Natalie Adomian, the former officer said her husband had physically abused her, including once in in a Las Vegas hotel room around 2008 resulting in an injury to her neck.
When the prosecutor asked about whether she had used tactics she had learned through the CHP to try to subdue her husband, she responded, “Ma’am, my husband wasn’t a suspect … I wasn’t thinking about tactics from work … I was scared.”
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