Local News

Family Members From Both Sides Address Timothy Johnson Jury

Posted August 20, 2005 11:24 a.m. EDT

— A former North Carolina State University student convicted in the shooting deaths of two men during a tailgate party last September took the witness stand Friday to ask a jury to spare his life.

On Thursday, the jury found Timothy Johnson, 23, guilty of first-degree murder in the death of 23-year-old Kevin McCann and guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Camp Lejeune Marine 2nd Lt. Brett Harman, also 23.

"I hate that I took someone like that from this world," said a sobbing Johnson Friday. "And I know I've caused a lot of pain and done a whole lot of bad things. But I will spend the rest of my life trying to help other people -- reach out to other people."

The 23-year-old also apologized to his parents.

"I love you. I'm so sorry," Johnson said. "This is not your fault, it's mine. The choices were mine."

Now, during the sentencing phase of the trial, jurors must decide whether to sentence Johnson to life imprisonment or request the death penalty. They spent Friday morning listening to testimony from grieving family members on both sides of the case.

Johnson's brother, Mitch Johnson, took the stand to plead for his brother's life.

"Timothy is a good person that made some terrible choices," Mitch Johnson told the jury. "He's my brother and I'm going to stick by him no matter what. I love him."

He also asked the victims' families for forgiveness.

"Whether you accept it or not, we're offering our sympathies and we're offering our apologies to you," Mitch Johnson said. "I know that can't take anything back."

Timothy Johnson's mother, Ann Johnson, shared photos of her son in happier times as a Boy Scout and school marshal.

"I know you did what you had to do, and I ask you to let Tim live," she said in between sobs.

Parents of the victims also talked about their loss.

"I only remember screaming," said Harman's mother, Nancy Tighe.

Tighe recalled the moment she found out her son was dead, and then the moment she realized it would affect so many lives.

"My husband, Terry; my son, Rob -- my family and I are left haunted by the horror of Brett's murder," she said. "I'm left with one son, not two."

"The suffering, anger and emotional roller coaster just keep going day after day," Tighe went on to say. "The void in our lives will remain forever."

Kevin McCann's father, Dennis McCann, remembered his son on the stand.

"All we do is go to the cemetery," he said. "The pain is so powerful; the grief is immeasurable. We just ask that justice be served."

Attorneys will present their closing arguments Monday, and then the jury will decide Timothy Johnson's sentence.

The WRAL NewsChannel for carry live coverage of the sentencing. Tune in to digital cable channel 256 or over the air at 5.2.