Johnson indicted for capital murder

Published 12:44 pm Thursday, January 21, 2021

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William Chase Johnson was indicted last week on capital murder charges for allegedly killing Lowndes County Sheriff Big John Williams.

A Lowndes County grand jury handed down the indictment on Jan. 13.

The beloved sheriff was shot and killed on Nov. 23, 2019 at the QV store in downtown Hayneville. Investigators from numerous agencies responded to the scene. There was a manhunt that followed for Johnson, but he eventually turned himself in at the QV station.

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Johnson, who is 19, is from Montgomery and is still being held in the Elmore County Jail without bond.

In Alabama, capital murder is the most severe form of criminal homicide, and if Johnson is convicted, as per Alabama law, he can be sentenced to life in prison without parole or given the death penalty.

An arraignment has been set for Jan. 29.

Retired Escambia County Judge Bert Rice is the acting judge in the case.

Throughout the case, Johnson’s attorneys have claimed that Williams failed to identify himself and that he was not wearing sheriff’s office attire, when he responded to the noise complaint at the QV in Hayneville. State prosecutors have said they have witnesses who can dispute that allegation, saying Williams identified himself as the sheriff.

There is a gag order on the case, which prohibits lawyers or anyone else involved in the case from speaking with the press about the case.