Lockette grants Johnson execution stay

Published: Oct. 4, 2011 at 1:21 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 7, 2011 at 8:57 PM EDT
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Albany, GA  - (WALB)  Judge Willie Lockette granted a stay of execution for Ray Johnson to check into DNA evidence in the Angela Sizemore murder in 1994. The D.A. says he will appeal.

Judge Lockette said he was just granting a stay. He was not granting new DNA testing or new trial. He said he will hold a hearing again February 1, 2012. The stay will give the defense time to review evidence and consult with experts.

Condemned murderer Ray Johnson's lawyer had a hearing in a Dougherty County courtroom, trying to get new evidence testing, attempting to save his life.

Defense attorney Brian Kammer argued that DNA evidence from the murder of Angela Sizemore in 1994 can be retested, using new procedures that were not available back then.

He suggested the suspect touched all of Sizemore's clothes and they should be retested.

Dougherty D. A. Greg Edwards went back through witness accounts at the original trial that put Johnson in the Fundamentals bar with Sizemore, and on eastside after she was murdered, near the holding pond where Sizemore's body was found in her Chevy Suburban.

He asked that the request for a new trial and DNA testing be dismissed.

Kammer wanted what he called "Touch DNA" testing to be done. He said that this could shed new light on a greasy substance on some of Sizemore's clothing, as well as mucus and saliva on the fabric.

The defense also argued that there was not enough blood present at either of the locations where Sizemore was to account for the 41 stab wounds that she suffered.

He said that could prove that someone else was involved, or that just Marcus Johnson was present during the murder, but it could exclude him.

Edwards argued that exhaustive testing has been done, and even if someone else may have been present when Sizemore was killed, that doesn't clear Johnson.

Johnson was set to be put to death tomorrow evening at the state prison in Butts County.

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