Wife of slain officer testifies

May 1, 2008 4:28:59 PM PDT
The widow of a slain police officer took the stand Thursday. Prosecutors say HPD Officer Rodney Johnson was killed by Juan Quintero in cold blood back in September of 2006. On Thursday, Johnson's wife testified in Quintero's murder trial.

Defense attorneys are trying their best to save their client, who's accused of shooting and killing Officer Johnson during a routine traffic stop. They began presenting their case Thursday. But earlier in the day, prosecutors called Officer Johnson's widow to the stand.

There was an outpouring of support and emotion inside the courtroom as Officer Johnson's widow, HPD Sergeant Josylyn Johnson testified in her husband's murder trial.

"We're all one big family and this is just one of our obligations, to come over here and give support whether we knew the officer or not," said Lt. Joe Inocencio with the Houston Police Department.

In between the tears, Johnson maintained her composure as she recounted for the jury the pain she felt the night her husband of seven years was killed.

"I called Rodney's sister, Susan, and told her something bad may have happened," she testified.

Johnson had just left work and was at her son's football game when she got the news. By the time she got to the hospital, it was too late.

"They would not let me see him," she said on the stand. "They told me he had expired. They wouldn't let me see him because of his condition."

Officer Johnson had been shot four times in the back of the head. While it's been a year and a half since his death, Johnson remembers the last time she saw her husband as if it was yesterday. She was leaving for work.

"He fell asleep on the couch. I kissed him on the forehead," she told jurors.

Johnson left the courtroom before the medical examiner began his testimony, which included graphic pictures of Officer Johnson's autopsy followed by a detailed description of how he died.

Susan Johnson, her sister-in-law, was there to console her.

"The whole being here is very stressful, but you have to go through it to get to the end and that's what we want, to just get through it," she said.

Defense attorneys have called Quintero's brother to the stand.

They maintain that Quintero is not guilty by reason of insanity and that a mental defect caused him to shoot the officer.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

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