FLORENCE — The state rested its case this morning in the Lauderdale County murder trial of Shawn Johnson, after a medical examiner cited blunt-force trauma to the head as the cause of Keith Barnett’s death.
Dr. Stephen Pustilnik, a former medical examiner with the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, testified Barnett’s fatal injuries were consistent with blows to the head caused by a blunt object about 2 to 3 inches wide. Pustilnik said that would be consistent with an object such as a baseball bat.
Johnson, 42, is charged in the 2000 death of Barnett. Barnett, 22, was found beaten and unconscious on Alabama 17 in Lauderdale County on July 29, 2000, and died Sept. 21, 2000.
He and his brother, Shannon Johnson, 43, are accused of beating Barnett with a baseball bat outside Little Sands bar in Wayne County, Tenn., and dumping his body on Alabama 17 in Lauderdale County.
Shannon Johnson, 43, had agreed to plead to manslaughter and receive a 20-year prison sentence in exchange for his testimony, but said Wednesday he changed his mind.
The defense was to start stating its side of the case this morning.