Johnson to be re-sentenced for escape conviction; still faces murder trial

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FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) - A Lauderdale County man accused of murder and perjury was in court Tuesday for an unrelated conviction.  In question, the amount of prison time he should have gotten for an escape conviction.

In 2013, Shannon Johnson was convicted of felony escape from the Lauderdale County Work Release Center.

During a pre-sentencing investigation, the court learned Johnson had prior convictions in the state of Georgia.  At the time, those convictions were thought to be for felonies, so Judge Gil Self sentenced Johnson to life in prison under the habitual offender law.

The court has since learned the convictions were misdemeanors, leaving Judge Self with no option other than to grant a petition to re-sentence Johnson with only one prior Alabama felony conviction.

Shannon Johnson also faces charges of murder and perjury.  State prosecutors believe Shannon and his brother Shawn beat Keith Barnett near the Tennessee line and left him for dead.

Shawn Johnson has already been convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Shannon, who had at one time turned state’s witness against his brother, is accused of lying under oath about his brother murdering Barnett and his own involvement.  Those trial dates have not been set at this point.

Judge Self has set the re-sentencing for Shannon Johnson to take place on September 22nd.

Self has also requested briefs from the state and defense about the legality of Shannon Johnson being questioned on the stand and the scope of those questions during a Rule 32 hearing.