Teen accused of killing sheriff appears in court

Published 4:17 pm Thursday, September 3, 2020

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The teen charged with shooting and killing Lowndes County Sheriff John “Big John” Williams made an appearance in court last week.

During the court appearance, defense attorneys for William Chase Johnson argued that a bond should be set in the capital murder case.

Retired Escambia County Judge Bert Rice has been appointed to preside over the case and heard motions Thursday.

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Johnson, 18, is charged with capital murder and is currently being held in the Elmore County Jail without bond.

The sheriff was killed in the parking lot of the QV convenience store in Hayneville the night of Nov. 23.

Troy Teague, who represents Johnson argued in court that the whole situation “was a huge misunderstanding.”

“Not to insult anyone, but this was a huge misunderstanding,” he said.

Teague said that Williams did not use his blue lights, was in plain clothes and that they did not know he was the sheriff.

“My client was a child when this happened,” Teague said.

However, Kenneth Gibbs, prosecutor for the case, said that there is sufficient bystander testimony that shows that the sheriff did identify himself as the Lowndes County sheriff.

Gibbs said in court that Johnson’s was response was “I don’t give a (explicit).”

That comment was taken from the record after an objection from the defense.

Teague argued that Johnson is not a threat to the public and needed to be considered for bond.

Judge Rice plans to have a decision on the bond by mid-September.