Defense argues for manslaughter in Jeffrey Johnson murder trial

Defense argues for manslaughter in Jeffrey Johnson murder trial

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by Nina Mehlhaf, KGW Staff

kgw.com

Posted on January 22, 2014 at 1:42 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 22 at 2:02 PM

ALOHA, Ore. -- Ryan Johnson was shot six times outside a grocery store. It was a killing that stunned the Aloha community, and on Wednesday, the second week of the murder trial of Jeffrey Johnson got underway.

Johnson, 54, of Beaverton, is on trial for murdering his daughter's ex-boyfriend, 22-year-old Ryan Johnson. The two men are not related, but Ryan was the father of a now 5-year-old son with Jeffrey's daughter.

Background: Aloha man on trial for killing his grandson's dad

In January 2012, Ryan was shot six times in the head, neck and arm in broad daylight as he was about to enter the Bales Thriftway store on Farmington Road in Aloha. After speeding away, police arrested Jeffrey Johnson a short time later, and found the gun in the car. For months, the men had been going to court over custody issues involving Ryan's son.

Both sides of the trial agree he's guilty of the killing. The state says it's a murder that was well-planned and calculated. The defense is arguing it's only manslaughter because Jeffrey mentally snapped and was scared for the safety of his grandchild.

On Wednesday, defense attorney Stephen Houze called a Beaverton Police Forensics Detective to the stand to discuss text messages found on both men's cell phones and whether or not they had been deleted on purpose to hide evidence of threats.

A Beaverton neighbor of Jeffrey Johnson's was called to testify about his mental state leading up to the killing.

Houze would not say if Johnson is planning to take the stand in his own defense.

If the state wins on the murder conviction, Johnson would get life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years. If the defense wins on a manslaughter conviction, measure 11 states he would get 10 years.

The defense continues its arguments Thursday.

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