Johnson murder trial set for June 24
January 14, 2014
In a hearing in state District Court in Havre Monday, a possible date was selected to start the trial of a man accused of shooting his brother to death in Havre Nov. 9.
Shane Clark Johnson, born in 1968, was scheduled to go on trial starting June 24, although other cases already are scheduled for that date.
If the other cases are rescheduled or canceled due to dismissed charges or agreements, the Johnson trial is scheduled to start June 24 with jury selection at 9 a.m.
Johnson is charged with deliberate homicide in the death of his brother, Travis Johnson, 43, in the basement of the house where they lived with their parents. He pleaded not guilty to the charge Nov. 28.
According to a charging document, Shane Johnson told investigating officers both that “it was self-defense” and also that the gun went off when his brother threw him down the stairs, a charging document says. He later said that Travis Johnson had followed him downstairs and “would not stop,” the document says.
Investigating officers found evidence of a struggle, with furniture knocked over and a pool of blood on the dining room floor, upstairs.
Travis and Shane Johnson each had a bedroom in the basement of the residence on the 700 Block of 2nd Avenue.
The brothers’ mother called an ambulance after she found Travis Johnson lying on the floor in the basement near the stairs after she and her husband returned from going to a restaurant for dinner.
Emergency medical technicians found what appeared to be a gunshot wound to his face after they transported him to the ambulance. He died after being transported to Northern Montana Hospital.
A medical examiner at the State Crime Lab in Missoula said Travis Johnson had been shot twice, both times with the gun close to his head. One bullet creased his scalp, while the other entered his cheek and went into his brain, causing his death, the charging document says.
While searching the basement, the officers found Shane Johnson in his bedroom — with an apparent injury to his nose which had been bleeding — lying on the bed covered by a comforter, the document says. The officers also found a gun case and a small-caliber handgun and handgun magazine in his room, as well as shell casings. Some of the casings appeared to be from shots fired in other parts of the basement, the document says.