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Prosecutors Tell of Grisly Beating in Johnson Trial

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FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) - Day two of the Shawn Johnson murder trial began Tuesday morning with opening statements and testimony in Lauderdale County.

Emotion filled the fifth floor courtroom as prosecutors painted the picture of a horrible beating that took place in the early morning hours of July 29, 2000.

During opening statements by the state, the family of Keith Barnett could not hold back their tears as District Attorney Chris Connolly outlined their case against Shawn Johnson.

According to Connolly, 22-year-old Keith Barnett had gone to Little Sands Bar with a group of friends that night.

After becoming intoxicated, Barnett was asked to leave Little Sands, and Connolly says Barnett left on foot.

A short time later, prosecutors say Keith Barnett came across Shawn Johnson and his brother Shannon and a fight ensued.

Connolly says the Johnson brothers beat Barnett with a bat, then loaded him into a truck and dumped on the side of the road near the state line.

Defense attorneys said during their opening statements that Shawn Johnson was near the state line that night but never came in contact with Barnett.

Emotions also ran high during the questioning of the first witness who found Keith Barnett’s lifeless body that morning.

During the testimony, prosecutors showed pictures from the scene and of Keith Barnett in the hospital.

Keith Barnett died over a month later in a Birmingham hospital.

The state will continue with witness testimony on Wednesday morning.