Ala. Bigamist Convicted of Murder
Oct. 23, 1999
JASPER, Ala. (AP) _ A jury recommended the death penalty Friday for a 30-year-old bigamist convicted of talking one of her three husbands into shooting another.
Shonda Nichole Johnson of Jasper was convicted of capital murder Thursday in the 1997 death of Randy McCullar.
Ms. Johnson was married to McCullar at the time _ and to Timothy Richards, who police say pulled the trigger, and to Bill McIntyre, who police say wasn't involved.
Richards testified during the trial that he shot McCullar in the back of the head as he changed a tire in a church parking lot, but he said his wife made him do it so she could be cleared of a bigamy charge.
The charge was initiated by McCullar after Ms. Johnson married McIntyre while she was still married to him.
According to prosecutors and trial testimony, Richards slashed the tires of McCullar's car, and Richards and Ms. Johnson followed him when he drove away. When McCullar pulled over to check the tire, Ms. Johnson told him to shoot, Richards said.
``She yelled, 'Do it! Do it! Do it!,''' he testified.
Richards pleaded guilty to murder to avoid a possible death sentence.
Defense attorney Steve Jones argued that Richards acted alone and killed McCullar because Ms. Johnson told him McCullar had raped her.
``What we have is somebody who wanted Randy McCullar dead and she finally found somebody weak-minded enough to do it,'' said prosecutor Bill Adair.
Circuit Judge James C. Brotherton could follow the jury's recommendation or sentence Ms. Johnson to life in prison.