Knox Co. man found guilty once again in little boy's death

10:25 AM, Mar 15, 2013   |    comments
Paul Jerome Johnson
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A Knox County man has once again been convicted in the death of his girlfriend's baby boy.

Thursday morning, the jury found Paul Jerome Johnson guilty of first degree murder.  He was given a life sentence.

He will be sentenced on aggravated child abuse charges at a later date.  That's also when the judge will determine if Johnson would be eligible for parole.

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A man who was previously convicted of killing a little boy testified in his retrial on Wednesday.

Paul Jerome Johnson, Jr. was convicted in July 2010 of felony murder and aggravated child abuse in the 2008 death of Joseph Manning. The 18-month-old was the son of Johnson's girlfriend.

He was granted a retrial in April, after the judge who presided over his original trial admitted to drug abuse while on the bench.

In court on Wednesday, Joseph's mother, Asia McMann testified that Johnson woke her up saying the child was hurt and don't let him die.  She said she couldn't find a pulse, and tried breathing in the boy's mouth.  She called her mother, then 911, and the two headed to the hospital, where Joseph died.

Johnson told a different story when he took the stand in his own defense.  He said it was the boy's mother who woke him up to say something was wrong with the child.  He testified that he rushed the boy to the hospital, driving very fast and running red lights, while the mother tried CPR.

He said he never abused or hurt Joseph.


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