FLORENCE — Opening arguments and testimony will begin this morning in the murder trial of Alfred Shawn Johnson, who is accused of killing a Lauderdale County man more than 12 years ago, officials said.
Jury selection for the trial ended just before 5 p.m. Monday.
The trial will begin at 9 a.m. today in the fifth-floor courtroom of the Lauderdale County Courthouse. Circuit Judge Gil Self is presiding over the case. Johnson, 42, Florence, is charged with murder in the beating death of Keith Barnett.
Barnett, 22, was found unconscious in a ditch on Alabama 17 near the Alabama-Tennessee state line on July 29, 2000. He never regained consciousness and died Sept. 21, 2000.
Johnson and his brother, Shannon Ray Johnson, 43, were arrested in May 2011, almost 10 years after Barnett was found.
Shannon Johnson, who also was charged with murder at the time of his arrest, pleaded guilty to manslaughter last year and agreed to testify against his brother. Shannon Johnson received a 20-year prison sentence, the maximum penalty for manslaughter.
Courthouse officials said Barnett was attacked and beaten in Tennessee, and his body was dumped in the roadway on Alabama 17. The indictment against Shawn Johnson indicates Barnett was beaten with a baseball bat.
Investigators received information in 2008 that they said eventually led to the indictments.
Shawn Johnson is being represented by Florence attorneys Dustin McCown and Jamy Poss.
Tom Smith can be reached at 256-740-5757 or tom.smith@TimesDaily.com.