Com v. Johnson: A Death Penalty Appeal
In Commonwealth v. Johnson, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court unanimously affirmed a murder conviction and the jury’s imposition of the death penalty. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania is charged with reviewing all death penalty cases before passing on a full transcript and case file to the Governor. The Court exhaustively reviewed Johnson’s case, and concluded there were no errors in his trial.
The case facts are grisly, and concern Johnson’s triple murder of one of his friends and her children to obtain drugs. A fire was set, ostensibly to destroy the murder scene. Johnson was seen fleeing the scene in a stolen car, hitting another car as he exited. Johnson was seen by family of the victims at the apartment storing some of his possessions less than 30 minutes before the murder. Finally, Johnson confessed.
The case demands no legal analysis, as nothing of particular interest is revealed in the case. Justice Donohue writes for the unanimous Court, and there are no concurrences or dissents.