Saturday, May 7, 2005

Clinton, Tennessee

From the Knoxville News-Sentinel of May 7, 2005
Grand jury refuses to indict woman in husband's slaying

The detective said it was murder.

The district attorney general reduced the charge to voluntary manslaughter.

The grand jury cut her loose.

An Anderson County grand jury has refused to indict Tamara Johnson of Heiskell in connection with the shooting death of her husband, Tim Johnson, 46, also of Heiskell.

Grand jurors met Tuesday and considered the case. Their decision not to indict was released Friday.

Tim Johnson died of a single gunshot wound to his lower abdomen following an early-morning shooting April 9 at the Sundown Tavern, a bar the couple operated on Clinton Highway.

When a deputy arrived, Tamara Johnson stepped out of the tavern with gun in hand.

She admitted to the deputy she shot her husband after he hit her several times in the face, according to law enforcement reports.

Detective Danny Bowie's charge of criminal homicide against Tamara Johnson was waived to the grand jury.

But prosecutors asked grand jurors to instead consider a reduced charge of voluntary manslaughter.

That charge alleged Tamara Johnson acted in a "state of passion produced by adequate provocation sufficient to lead a reasonable person to act in an irrational manner.''

Grand jurors thought otherwise. They dismissed the reduced charge.

Tamara Johnson had already been freed on a reduced bond of $25,000.

Court documents filed in connection with the couple's stormy relationship over the years depicted Tamara Johnson as the victim of ongoing physical abuse.

Tim Johnson knew where to hit her where the injuries wouldn't show, Tamara Johnson said in an order of protection she took out against her husband last August.

Tamara Johnson said her husband had boasted he learned how to hit her from tips he received during an anger management course he was sentenced to take.

That sentence stemmed from a 2002 domestic assault conviction Tim Johnson netted for an earlier beating of his wife.

Tamara Johnson then had described to deputies a long history of physical abuse at Tim Johnson's hands that she said dated back several years.

She said she had lost several jobs over the years because she was too embarrassed to go to work with the blackened eyes and bruises she received at Tim Johnson's hands.

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