Murder charges against an 18-year-old have been dropped. Three years ago, Joshua Johnson of Dalton, was charged with strangling his grandmother to death with a telephone cord. Now, Whitfield County's District Attorney says he won't prosecute the teen, and that decision is causing an uproar in the Northwest Georgia city.
DA Bert Poston says he stands by his decision to drop the charges against Johnson. This, after he closely examined evidence and says there's a slight possibility that Johnson's grandmother could have committed suicide. Something prosecutors didn't realize until they stopped just looking at pictures of the evidence and actually took out the bags to look at the cord at all angles before the trial.
"I was very surprised that the DA dropped these charges. We need a DA in this town that can prosecute criminals that have done wrong and dropping murder charges, that don't float my boat," said 23-year-old Trevin Stover, who was the third person to feel for a pulse on the dead body of Lorraine Frazier in October of 2010. Second was Stover's mother, Shanelle. First, was Josh Johnson, who was also considered the sole suspect in the investigation.
That's until today, when District Attorney Bert Poston announced he was dropping the charges against Johnson. Poston says that's because the telephone cord around Frazier's neck was tied with a slipknot, meaning Frazier could have strangled herself. "I can't say at this point whether she was murdered or whether she committed suicide. I'm not exonerating Johnson or saying that he's not guilty, he could have murdered her. But because I can't prove that it was murder versus suicide, then the right thing to do is to give him the benefit of the doubt and dismiss the case," said Poston.
"There's no doubt in my mind that she could not have been murdered. I think she was. I'm not pointing fingers at anybody, but I think she was murdered, in my honest opinion," said Stover.
Meanwhile, Poston says without an acquittal or conviction, the case can always be reopened. "The investigation is never closed until the case is resolved, so you always have to be willing to take a fresh look at the evidence or if there's new evidence, to reevaluate those conclusions," said Poston.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the GBI says they stand behind the DA's decision, but says there was obviously enough evidence for a grand jury to indict Johnson 3 years ago.
This is the second murder case in recent history where Poston has dropped charges. Just last month, a man was cleared of murdering his 4-month-old daughter after a polygraph test surfaced that showed he had nothing to do with the death. You can find that story here.
By Natalie Jenereski