Trial date set for ‘Big John’ murder case

Published 8:31 am Wednesday, November 8, 2023

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The murder trial of William Chase Johnson, who was accused of taking the life of Lowndes County Sheriff “Big John” Williams, has been delayed until late 2024.

Johnson was charged with shooting Williams in the line of duty as the late Sheriff attempted to disperse a large crowd at the QV convenience store in Hayneville on Nov. 23, 2019 The shooting resulted in Williams’ untimely death at only 62-years-old.

According to District Attorney Charlotte Tesmer, the trial was originally set to take place on Oct. 10 in Lowndes County, but plans have since changed.

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“The presiding judge has moved the location of the trial to Macon County,” Tesmer said. “A date has been set for trial to start on Oct. 7, 2024.”

Tesmer will partner with Attorney General Steve Marshall to try the case.

The case is under a gag order, which means neither prosecutors nor the defense may comment outside court filings.

Johnson, who was 18 at the time of William’s slaying, is being held at the Elmore County Jail without bond under charges of capital murder. 

If convicted, Johnson could be face sentencing of life in prison without the possibility of parole, or the death penalty.