FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – A shocking turn of events Wednesday afternoon in the Lauderdale County murder trial of Shawn Johnson, when the defendant’s brother took the stand.
Shawn Johnson is accused of killing Keith Barnett in 2000.
After reaching a plea agreement with prosecutors, Shannon Johnson, who was considered the state’s star witness, changed his story while on the stand.
Prosecutors planned the defendant’s brother as their lead witness from the beginning of this case, but when jurors sat down to listen to Shannon Johnson, the state’s case took a big hit.
From the start of his testimony, Shannon Johnson became somewhat hostile with prosecutors, saying he lied during previous interviews with police.
On the stand, Johnson told the state’s attorney his brother Shawn was not involved in the murder of Keith Barnett, and according to Shannon Johnson, he simply made up the story because he was scared.
Shannon Johnson told the jury he also lied during previous court hearings, about how he and his brother beat Keith Barnett and dumping his body in Alabama.
During cross examination by defense lawyers, Shannon Johnson stated the only way to save himself from all his lies was to turn on his brother.
Inside the courtroom, Shannon Johnson went on to say, “I would have to sell my soul to the devil, to accuse my brother.”
If Shannon Johnson is found guilty of lying to the court, prosecutors say they will take his plea deal off the table.
Shannon Johnson now faces three separate felony cases that could land him spending the rest of his life behind bars, if convicted.
The victim’s father also took the stand this afternoon.
Kenneth Barnett sobbed during his testimony and dozens of family members also wiped away tears, as Barnett recounted the day he identified his son at the hospital.