Lauderdale County jury finds Shannon Johnson guilty of murder

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FLORENCE, Ala. - A Lauderdale County jury found Shannon Johnson guilty of murder Friday morning. The jury took roughly three days to decide his fate bringing an end to a chapter in a nearly 17 year murder investigation.

Thursday afternoon, the jury went home about 4 p.m. and returned to the courthouse Friday morning.

They have been deliberating since mid-day Wednesday, when Johnson’s murder trial wrapped.  One final witness took the stand and defense attorney Chris Childers made a brief statement to jurors then rested the case.

Johnson was accused of beating Keith Barnett, and with his brother, dumping Barnett 's body along Highway 17 in Alabama.

Keith Barnett’s father, Kenneth, testified for the prosecution.  Mr. Barnett said his son was never able to verbally communicate with family after being hospitalized.

Two months after the beating, Keith Barnett died at UAB Hospital.