State Rests in Johnson Trial; Defense Asks for Dismissal

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FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – Coming off a day of twists and turns in the Shawn Johnson murder trial in Lauderdale County, the prosecution rested Thursday morning, but not before hearing from one more state witness.

Family members looked away as the state questioned the forensic scientist who performed Keith Barnett’s autopsy in 2000.

Dr. Steven Pustilnik, who worked for the Alabama Department of Forensics, testified Keith Barnett died from multiple blunt force traumas to the head.

When defense attorneys asked if it was possible if Barnett’s injuries were consistent with being struck by a car, Pustilnik said “No.”

The doctor said the wounds looked like they came from something three or four inches wide.

As the defense’s second witness, R.B. Fraley testified Shawn Johnson was working at the South-Gate Deli the night of Barnett’s attack.

Fraley said he and Johnson were outside the store when Keith Barnett walked past, headed towards Alabama.

According to Fraley, he never saw Shawn Johnson and Barnett have any kind of confrontation.

During cross-examination, Fraley told prosecutors he left his store headed north, while Johnson left heading back toward Alabama, the same direction as Keith Barnett.

After the state rested, defense attorneys asked that the charges against Johnson be dismissed due to lack of evidence being presented.  Circuit Judge Gil Self denied that motion.

The trial is expected to continue Friday morning.