TRIAL DATE: August 2010 for slaying of Eric Jarmin
Trial Date: November 2010 for slaying of Joseph Bittengle
No trial dates set yet for the slaying of Akshaya Nandam
or for the other robberies & shootings.
Chief Deputy Prosecutor John Johnson "Prosecutors plan to use evidence from
all three of the killings at Brandon Johnson's August trial."
CHARGES: 3 counts of capital murder, 14 counts of aggravated robbery, 2 counts of
aggravated residential burglary, 9counts of first degree battery and 10
counts of theft.
2010 - March 12 - Prosecutors drop Death Penalty against Brandon Dewayne
Johnson, instead seek Life sentence.
Brandon Dewayne Johnson's IQ tests out at 55 - Arkansas law and
U.S. Supreme Court precedent bar the execution of defendants with
an IQ of 65 or below. Doctors deem Johnson "mentally retarded."
Dr. Brian Rush Simpson (Forensic Psychiatrist, State Hospital) "I found Brandon
Johnson to have mild mental retardation." "The defendant has no history of mental
"Johnson's claim of hearing voices in his head is more likely an indication of his low
IQ, than an indicator that he is schizophrenic. People with mental retardation regularly
report hearing voices, which are actually the internal monologue that most people have
Dr. Buhushan "Shawn" Agharkar (Defense Psychiatrist, Georgia) "The defendant
puts up a good front, but careful questioning shows Johnson is unfit to stand trial."
Johnson "parrots" what others tell him in an effort to please them, but doesn't have
sufficient understanding of the accusations against him or how the legal system
works to stand trial.
"It really tells you this is a guy you have to be careful with ... because he'll look at
you like he understands. He tries to please you. He tries to play down his cognitive
difficulties." As an example, Johnson initially was enamored with John Johnson,
the prosecutor, thinking that Johnson wanted to set him free. He thought the
prosecuting attorney was cool. He should know the prosecuting attorney is against
him, not on his side."
COMPETENT TO STAND TRIAL
As soon as it medical evidence established Johnson's IQ, his
defense moved to have him deemed incompetent to stand trial.
Prosecutors presented letters from Johnson that he wrote:
1) Johnson tried to persuade a friend to claim ownership of a
pair of bloodied jeans.
2) Johnson demonstrated that he knows the murder weapon,
which was found under his girlfriend's couch, near the
bloodied jeans, had been stolen.
The defense disputed the authenticity of the letters.
Circuit Judge Marion Humphrey "Johnson is competent to stand trial."