Brian Keith Terrell And John Watson

Posted in Library of Congress, The Death Penalty by chamblee54 on December 7, 2015










Before discussing tuesday’s planned execution, it should be noted that chamblee54 missed an execution. Marcus Ray Johnson was poisoned November 19. His crime was committed in 1994.

Barring last minute appeals, the state of Georgia is planning to poison Brian Keith Terrell Tuesday night. Mr. Terrell, was convicted of murdering John Watson on June 22, 1992. John Hamish Watson, another Mr. Watson, was the “elementary” friend of Sherlock Holmes.

The first trial of Mr. Terrell resulted in a hung jury. The most recent appeal deals with concerns about the substances the state plans to inject into Mr. Terrell. Previous appeals were based on jury selection issues, and the traditional complaint of ineffective counsel.

Marcus Ray Johnson was white, as was his victim Angela Sizemore. Brian Keith Terrell is black. It is not known what race Mr. Watson was. (Barbara Terrell, the mother of the accused, had discussed marriage with Mr. Watson.) The state of Georgia seems to alternate between white and black people when conducting executions. Kelly Gissendaner a white woman, was executed before Mr. Johnson. The executions of Ms. Gissendaner, and Mr. Terrell, were delayed for several months after the execution drug appeared to be cloudy.

Here is the story of the murder. It is condensed for this blog. Readers wanting the full story can go to Murderpedia, and Attorney General’s Press Advisory. Most of this story is from Murderpedia, with additional details, as noted, from the Attorney General.

Barbara Terrell the defendant’s mother, had been assisting the victim, seventy-year-old John Watson, with meals and errands since 1989. Watson had a number of health problems and required dialysis three times a week. Barbara Terrell received no compensation for her services, but Watson had promised to include her in his will, and they had discussed marriage.

On May 1, 1992, Terrell was released from prison on parole. Watson met Terrell through his mother and Terrell was inside his home on several occasions.

On Saturday, June 20, 1992, Watson called the sheriff’s office and reported receiving ten canceled checks, totaling about $8,700, which had been stolen and forged…. Terrell, who had recently bought a car and new clothes despite not having a job, told his mother that he could not repay the money.

John Watson’s body was found on his property at approximately noon on June 22. He had been shot four times and severely beaten in the face and head. The medical examiner testified that either the gunshots or the beating would have been fatal, and that the victim was still alive when receiving all these injuries. Shell casings found on Watson’s driveway indicated that the firearm used in the murder was a .38 or .357 caliber revolver. …

Jermaine Johnson, Terrell’s cousin, confessed to his role in the crime and testified at trial in exchange for a five-year sentence for robbery. He stated that he and Terrell checked into a motel near Watson’s house at midnight on June 21. Terrell locked the keys in his blue Cadillac … They broke a window to get into the Cadillac. Terrell had a .357 or .38 caliber revolver and he asked to be dropped off at Watson’s house. Terrell told Johnson to return for him at 9:00 a.m. Johnson went back to the motel, slept until 8:30 a.m., and then drove back to pick up Terrell. Before 9:00 a.m., he had a conversation with the motel manager in the parking lot as he was leaving. The manager noticed that the broken glass in the parking lot was on the side of the car opposite the broken window, indicating that the Cadillac had been moved since the window was broken. The man with whom she spoke matched Johnson’s description and she testified that he was alone.

Johnson drove back and forth on the road in front of Watson’s house … Witnesses saw Johnson driving Terrell’s blue Cadillac at this time. Johnson testified that Terrell appeared near Watson’s house and he stopped and picked him up. Watson’s neighbor testified that at approximately 9:30 a.m., she saw a man wearing a white shirt standing next to a large blue car parked on the side of the road. Terrell was wearing a white shirt on June 22. Terrell told Johnson that he had shot a man. Terrell bought new clothes at a department store and took a bath at his grandmother’s house while Johnson washed the car.

Terrell took his son to the zoo, where he disposed of the pistol. When Watson missed his dialysis appointment, a search began for him at his house…. Evidence found at Watson’s house after he was discovered missing showed that, during the murder, Terrell hid at the corner of Watson’s house waiting for him to come outside to go to his dialysis appointment. Terrell then fired repeatedly at Watson; however, the initial shots all struck the driveway, possibly because Terrell had a defective wrist that caused his hand to point downward when raised. One shot, however, ricocheted up and struck Watson in the back of his thigh. Terrell then reloaded and continued his attack. Terrell overtook Watson, struggled with him, shot him three more times, dragged him across the lawn to a more secluded area, and beat him brutally about the face and head, breaking bones in his jaw, nose, cheek, forehead, and eye socket and knocking out some of his teeth. The beating was so severe that bone penetrated into the victim’s brain.

When questioned by the police, Terrell admitted committing the forgeries, but denied the murder. He said that he and Johnson had checked into the motel with a woman, who was never identified, and stayed there all night after he had locked his keys in the car. He said that they did not leave until 10:00 or 10:30 a.m., when they broke the window to get into the Cadillac. Later in the interview, a police officer asked him how the woman got home and Terrell stated that Johnson drove her home early that morning, which would have been impossible if the keys were locked in the car at that time. When Terrell realized that he had contradicted himself, he refused to answer any more questions.
Pictures are from The Library of Congress.







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