Justin Albert Johnson Sentenced

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

There’s a poignant scene in the documentary Mississippi Innocence in which District Attorney Forrest Allgood, reflecting on the fact that he wrongly convicted two separate men for the rape and murder of two little girls in the early 1990s, tries to mitigate his mistakes. He looks into the camera and says, “At least nobody died.” It’s a striking thing to say. In part because of the way it casually dismisses the fact that Allgood put two men in prison for nearly two decades each, one of whom was nearly executed.

But it’s also inaccurate. As Allgood finishes his sentence, the film cuts to the gravestone of Christine Jackson, the second of the three-year-olds to be sexually assaulted and murdered. If Allgood hadn’t fixated on Levon Brooks after the first murder, and hadn’t enlisted the help of fraudulent forensic specialists Steven Hayne and Michael West to help him get his conviction, he might have been able to identify and convict the real killer, who, for reasons the film explains that are too involved to get into here, should have stuck out as a suspect from the start.

But he didn’t. And so the real killer went on to rape and murder again. And Allgood went on to convict Kennedy Brewer, again the wrong man again, again using Hayne and West, even though the crimes were remarkably similar and occurred just a few miles apart. Allgood then fought like hell to keep both Brooks and Brewer in prison, even as it become obvious to everyone but Allgood that he’d convicted the wrong men.

In 2008, the man who actually killed both little girls, Justin Albert Johnson, was finally identified with DNA testing. This week, he was sentenced to life in prison.

The experience doesn’t appear to have curbed Allgood’s taste for blood.

District Attorney Forrest Allgood said Friday night that he wanted to seek the death penalty for Johnson, but the families of both victims sent letters and asked him not to do so.

“My personal opinion is that anybody that rapes and kills a small child deserves the death penalty,” Allgood said. “… Quite frankly, I would have preferred to have tried him and sought the death penalty.”

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9 Responses to “Justin Albert Johnson Sentenced”

  1. #1 |  Bergman | 

    Given Allgood’s record, I’m amazed he hasn’t found a way to get the charges dropped against Johnson, so that Allgood can try to convict someone HE thinks is guilty…

  2. #2 |  albatross | 

    He hates child rapists so much, he’s willing to execute an unlimited number of people for each one, and he’s broad minded enough to even execute the guilty one.

  3. #3 |  Goober | 

    “At least nobody died”

    With this attitude, I would be fully on board with a movement to imprison Allgodd for the next two decades to see how much he’s able to just brush THAT off like it’s nothing.

    I don’t know how people like this guy sleep at night, or look at themselves in the mirror. Dude! You STOLE somebody’s life! Don’t brush that off like it’s nothing!

  4. #4 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    I support the death penalty for Allgood. I just wish his kind were rare.

  5. #5 |  Highway | 

    Actually, based on his history, here’s what Allgood *really* thinks:

    “My personal opinion is that anybody who *I think* rapes and kills a small child deserves the death penalty”

  6. #6 |  Brandon | 

    Allgood, Hayne and West should be tried as accomplices for the last rape and murder, since they were purposely diverting resources away from actually investigating the crimes. And then Allgood should be kicked in the nuts for suggesting that the victim’s families just don’t care about “the children” as much as he does.

  7. #7 |  derfel cadarn | 

    Actually Mr Allgood the People would like to try you West and Hayne seeking the death penalty. Fewer persons have done more damage to American justice than you three assholes.

  8. #8 |  Mike | 

    If you wrote this in a novel you’d get criticized for calling the guy “Allgood”. You can’t make this stuff up. Truth really is stranger than fiction.

  9. #9 |  Sky | 

    Is the film available for purchase or rental on DVD?