Emotions and fireworks in sentencing

May 13, 2008 6:07:42 PM PDT
It was an emotional day in the trial of Juan Quintero, the man convicted of killing Houston Police Officer Rodney Johnson back The jury must now decide whether Quintero should be executed and Tuesday, they heard from Johnson's family. There were dramatic moments inside the courthouse Tuesday. Defense attorneys asked the judge to declare a mistrial because of all of the objections the state kept raising during their opening statements. Not only did she get angry and deny the request, she ordered the defense to continue calling witnesses. This, as Quintero's life was hanging in the balance.

A decorated officer, husband, father, friend, and hero, Officer Johnson meant different things to different people. His 16-year-old son, Corey, told the jury, "He had a heart larger than life. He was bigger than life. He loved Christmas and the holidays. That's when he was happiest."

It wasn't easy for those closest to Officer Johnson to talk about the man they all admired so much.

Joslyn Johnson, his widow, testified, "He was my soul mate. I thought we'd be together for the rest of our lives."

Their daughter, Jessica, was overcome with emotion as she talked about her recent engagement.

"He wasn't there for my boyfriend to ask for my hand in marriage and he won't be there to walk me down the aisle," she said.

His sister, Susan Johnson, who found out she was pregnant with twins the day after her brother was killed, told the jury, "I have two twins who will never know the beauty of their uncle."

It was an emotional day of testimony as the jury must decide whether Quintero lives or dies. Last week, after nearly six hours of deliberations, a jury found him guilty of capital murder.

On Tuesday, Officer Johnson's loved ones struggled to put aside their pain and remember the good times, a man who in death still touches the hearts of his family.

His 17-year-old daughter, Aston, said, "I may not cry every day, but I think about him every day. I miss him so much. It's still hard."

Right now, it's not clear how many witnesses the defense plans to call. A Mexican nun was testifying in behalf of Quintero. His mother was in the courthouse, as well, but we're not certain if she'll be testifying.


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