Craig Johnson murder trial to begin - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Craig Johnson murder trial to begin

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

LEESBURG, GA (WALB) -  The defense attorney for an Albany man charged in a brutal stabbing death doesn't want the jury to see pictures of the crime scene. Craig Johnson's legal team was back in court Monday in advance of Monday's murder trial.

Johnson is accused of stabbing Nicole Judge nearly 50 times February 28th, 2008 at her Winding Way Apartment with her young daughter there.

There were two hearings to determine what evidence the jury might see next week concerning this case. The judge has taken the motions under advisement.

Nicole Judge's family says her murder has split up her three girls, and left them with many questions, some that may be answered next week.

It's been a year and a half since Nicole Judge's brutal murder. For her family at Monday's motion hearing the feelings are still raw.

"He didn't have to do this to my baby," said the victim's mother, Sherrie Judge.

"What we want is justice for Nicole," said Deborah Singleton, Nicole's Aunt.

Judge was stabbed nearly 50 times both inside and outside her Winding Way apartment. Investigators charged Craig Johnson who they believed to be a boyfriend, but family members say she never mentioned him.

"None of the family has any knowledge of that being her boyfriend, as to say they were friends,  evidently so," said Singleton.

They're hoping Johnson's trial might give them some answers.

"We've been trying to figure out what, why, how, you know and we're hoping we will get some enlightenment to hear, even though it will be from his side of view what caused this, what happened," said Singleton.

Johnson's defense attorney however has asked that evidence taken from his Albany home and pictures of Judge's body not be seen by the jury.

"We wanted to try our best to keep those out for obvious reasons we don't want to enflame the jury or cause any prejudicial affect with the jury," said Defense Attorney Nikki Bonner.

Johnson is expected to testify and the trial should go forward Monday if the defense doesn't fight the denial of a motion claiming Johnson's statement after his arrest was coerced.

"During the interview process they have to do certain things to make sure that the interviews and statement that were made were voluntary and given voluntarily without coercion," said Bonner.

the Sheriff's office has already made plans for additional deputies to be in the court room next week, because they expect emotions to run high in this case.

Former District Attorney Cecilia Cooper did not seek the death penalty in this case. Craig Johnson could get life in prison if he's convicted.

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