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CHP officer testifies in trial: 'I was not trying to kill Marcus'

January 13, 2012 |  1:14 pm
Photo: Tomiekia Johnson and Marcus Lemons. Credit: Family photo provided by KTLA

California Highway Patrol officer Tomiekia Johnson, charged with murdering her husband more than two years ago, tearfully testified Friday that she and Marcus Lemons were struggling over her gun when it accidentally went off.

“I was not trying to kill Marcus. I would never try to hurt him,” she said in court, weeping. “He always hit me.”

Johnson and her husband were having drinks at a T.G.I. Friday’s in Compton before they got into an argument, Johnson told the jury. She took the keys and started driving home, she said, “blocking him out” as Lemons continued to yell at her in the car.

“When I continued to ignore him, he reached over and grabbed my neck,” she told the jury.

She pulled off the 91 Freeway and told him to walk home. He “snatched” the keys out of the ignition, she said, and a struggle over her purse ensued.

“I think he wanted my purse for the gun in the purse,” she said, trembling.

Prosecutors have argued in court that this was far from an accident. In the first three days of trial, witness testimonies portrayed Johnson as a wife with an aggressive personality and a tendency to drink excessively.

Her husband was described as a peaceful man, a popular barber and a renowned amateur bowler.

Forensic evidence and testimonies from crime-scene experts show that Johnson fired an intentional contact shot, prosecutors said. Lemons’ family members, sitting in one corner of the courtroom, looked on stoically.

Friends of Lemons shook their head, rolled their eyes and whispered to each other as Johnson answered questions about her tumultuous relationship with her husband.

Johnson’s family, sitting in the front row, held each other’s hands and listened quietly. Her testimony was to continue Friday afternoon.


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-- Rosanna Xia at Los Angeles County Superior Court

Photo: Tomiekia Johnson and Marcus Lemons. Credit: Family photo provided by KTLA