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Supreme Court halts cop-killer execution

by Dara Kam | October 28th, 2009

paul-beasley-johnson-100x1001The Florida Supreme Court has issued a stay in next week’s execution of convicted cop-killer Paul Beasley Johnson.

Johnson, whom Gov. Charlie Crist scheduled to be put to death on Thursday, went on a killing spree 28 years ago after a drug binge.

The Court issued the indefinite stay because of “significant issues raised” in Johnson’s appeal regarding prosecutorial misconduct, the order reads.

Johnson’s lawyers argued in his appeal that his conviction is tainted because a jailhouse witness who testified against him was working secretly for prosecutors, who later denied their connection to the inmate.

The inmate later recanted his testimony and said he was instructed by prosecutors to take notes about what Johnson said, which he did.

Prosecutors later denied that, but Johnson’s lawyers found written notes that showed they were in contact with the inmate and had told him to “keep his ears open and take notes.”

Johnson, 60, was found guilty of the 1981 murders of a cab driver, a good Samaritan who gave Johnson a ride and a deputy in Lakeland.

After getting high on crystal meth and running out of drugs, Johnson robbed and killed cab driver William Evans in Polk County. He then approached Amy Reid and Darrell Beasley in the parking lot of a restaurant and asked them for a ride to a friend’s house. Johnson asked the pair to pull over in a wooded area so that he could go to the bathroom and then shot and killed Beasley. Reid escaped and called the Polk County Sheriff’s office.

Johnson then started a shoot-out with two deputies who responded to Reid’s call. They later found the body of a third deputy, Theron Burnham, in a drainage ditch. Burnham had been shot three times.

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7 Responses to “Supreme Court halts cop-killer execution”

  1. Fed-Up Says:

    We can all thank Charlie Crist for the Fl. Supreme Court dicision. He recently appointed the most liberal candidate to the Fl. Supreme Court. There were many highly qualified Conservative Judges on the list provided to Charlie Crist. However, he choose the MOST LIBERAL JUDGE and that guy was the swing vote to give a COP KILLER an indefinite stay!!!!

    Don’t forget this folks. VOTE FOR MARCO RUBIO FOR US SENATE 2010!

  2. Robert Katz Says:

    I’m all for due dilligence by the court but if the convicted fellon is released and commits another crime then the “Justices” should be required to serve the original sentence. The judiciary must accept complete responsibility for their decisions.

  3. dhomonyou Says:

    this parasite has been living off the taxpayers since 1981.

  4. David L Says:

    You folks do not understand how the criminal-justice system functions. Death warrants are not supposed to be signed until a capital inmate has exhausted his or her appeal and post-conviction remedies (Crist jumped the gun because of political pressure from a county Sherrif). This is part of due process in America. Execution can never be undone, and we, as a society, owe it to criminal defendants to “get it right” before we execute them (there have been at least two men exhonerated, i.e., released due to innocence, from Florida’s death row in the last decade). This is not a liberal or a conservative issue, no member of the Fla. S. Ct. dissented from the stay. Even the CONSERVATIVE justices agreed that the stay was necessary. Next time, do a little research before posting. No one is going to be released, the only hypothetical remedy available in these cases (assuming that actual innocence is not proven) is life in prison.

  5. Justice Says:

    Great, meanwhile there’s truly an innocent man on FL death row for 30 years that many MANY West Palm Beach lawyers and journalists know about.

  6. FL Supreme Court Stays Execution of Paul Beasley Johnson | Innocence Project of Florida Says:

    [...] more about it HERE (Miami Herald),  HERE (The Ledger – Lakeland), or HERE (Palm Beach [...]

  7. CRISTHATER Says:

    If this POS hasn’t been given every chance to appeal every part of his case in 28 years, I’ll serve his sentence! As that great American philosopher, Popeye, said, “Enough is too much, I can’t stands no more”.

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