Mother gets wish for murdered son to be exhumed

PASADENA, TX Hank Johnson was murdered more than 100 miles away from home almost two years ago and a key clue may be buried with him.

On Wednesday morning, Sandi Johnson will be at Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery to watch what she thinks should have been done a long time ago. Her son's body will be exhumed and with it, she hopes will come answers.

"It hurts too much," said Sandi.

For Sandi Johnson, what's happening on Wednesday is part of the promise she made to her dying son almost two years ago.

"I said that I would be there for him and I got his back," Sandi said.

Her son, Hank Johnson, 27, was beaten so badly inside a hotel room in Hearne, Texas, in July 2008 that he never regained consciousness and died in a hospital 12 days later.

"This is the shirt he died in," said Sandi.

She holds tight to his belongings and has been steadfast in her fight to get her son's body exhumed. She believes he was buried with crucial physical evidence underneath his fingernails that was missed during his murder investigation. On Monday, a judge granted the exhumation.

"I think that I would have a chance. I think that we may find out who killed my son. I think that is the only chance," Sandi said.

But she wants to be right there to watch. She hasn't trusted the investigators or Robertson County District Attorney John Paschall from the start. They're facing a federal lawsuit alleging civil conspiracy which she believes led to the mishandling of evidence in her son's case.

"Look how long it's been, has my son been exhumed," said Sandi.

Right now she recalling memories of her son.

"He was an actor, a musician, a singer, a songwriter," Sandi said.

Wednesday morning she's back on the fight.

"I cannot bring him back, but do I want another mother to go through what I have been through in Robertson County? No," said Sandi.

Robertson County District Attorney John Paschall never returned our call, but he did tell a College Station TV station that he hoped the procedure will recover enough DNA evidence to link someone to this crime.

After Johnson's body is exhumed, it will go to the medical examiner's office in Galveston County where the evidence will be collected. It will then be returned to the cemetery in southeast Houston to be buried again.

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