FLORENCE — Just after 11 a.m. today, Shawn Johnson stood before Lauderdale County Circuit Judge Gil Self and said he had decided not to testify in his own behalf.
He said his attorneys, Jamy Poss and Dustin McCown, informed him it was his decision whether to testify.
Self said he would instruct the jury not to hold the decision not to testify against him when they begin deliberating, which is expected later today.
Shawn Johnson, 42, is charged with murder in the July 2000 beating death of Keith Barnett.
Barnett, 22, was found beaten and unconscious on Alabama 17 in Lauderdale County on July 29, 2000, and died Sept. 21, 2000.
Johnson and his brother, Shannon Johnson, 43, are accused of beating Barnett outside Little Sands bar, in Wayne County, Tenn., and dumping his body on Alabama 17.
Shannon Johnson had agreed to plead to manslaughter and received a 20-year sentence in exchange for his testimony, but when he testified Wednesday, he said he changed his mind.
Shawn Johnson’s decision not to testify came after his defense team called four witnesses this morning whose testimony was aimed at trying to point fingers at other possible suspects and to discredit earlier prosecution witness statements.
Poss and McCown told Self they have one last defense witness to call at 1:30 p.m.
Self said he expects closing arguments to begin after that testimony.