MONTGOMERY – The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals on Friday upheld the murder conviction of Shannon Ray Johnson. Johnson, 48, was convicted in Lauderdale County Circuit Court in January 2017 for the murder of Keith Barnett, 22.

Evidence presented at trial stated that between 10:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m. on July 29-30, 2000, Johnson was across the road from the Little Sands Club, near Iron City, Tennessee, taking cocaine while his brother Shawn Johnson was at the club. Around 1:00 a.m., the two brothers met in the parking lot to take cocaine. At that point, the victim, Keith Barnett approached them and got into a verbal confrontation with Shawn Johnson. The two brothers then proceeded to beat Barnett with their fists and a baseball bat until Barnett was unconscious. The two then put Barnett into the cab of Shawn Johnson’s truck and drove down Chisholm Highway toward Alabama. After they crossed into Lauderdale County, they placed Barnett into the roadway of Alabama 17. Barnett was later found in the road severely injured and was transported to a local hospital and subsequently transferred to other medical facilities for treatment before he eventually died from “multiple cranial cerebral trauma” on September 21.

The case was prosecuted at trial by Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly’s office. Johnson was sentenced to life imprisonment and subsequently sought to have his conviction reversed on appeal.

The Attorney General’s Criminal Appeals Section handled the case during the appeals process, arguing for the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals to affirm the conviction. The Court did so in a decision issued on Friday, August 4.

Attorney General Marshall commended Assistant Attorney General P. David Bjurberg of the Attorney General’s Criminal Appeals Section for his successful work in this case.

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