Carter County murder investigation continues

By CJ Cassidy

CARTER COUNTY, MO (KFVS) -- What went wrong? That's the question investigators in Carter County want answered.

That's after a local woman allegedly shot her boyfriend in their home.

The Carter County Sheriff tells me the suspect, Barbara Johnson, told him her boyfriend did not want her to go to her father's funeral.

The sheriff says it all ended when Johnson pulled out the gun her boyfriend gave her and shot him to death.

"It hurts real bad. He was a very good friend to everybody," Neighbor Rosa Kearbey says.

Many folks in the area agonize over the death of 67-year-old Harvey Cookston.  They say he was a gunsmith, who was always willing to lend a helping hand.

"It was a great big shock to everybody. Nobody knew anything was wrong," Kearbey says.

But investigators say something went horribly wrong inside the couple's home.

Carter County Sheriff Tommy Adams says when he arrived at the scene he found 54-year-old Barbara Johnson outside.

He says she told him "it was going to be me or him and I decided it was going to be him."

According to court documents Highway Patrol Investigator Craig Ponder says Johnson told him "I think I shot him twice."

But autopsy reports indicate Cookston was shot three times, with a twenty two calibre revolver; the same gun police say he gave his girlfriend a while back.

"I have seen enough evidence that has been gleaned in this case to know that I am filing first degree murder. There was apparently premeditation and deliberation in it when this occurred," Prosecutor Ernie Richardson says.

Investigators say Johnson initially ran barefoot to a neighbor's home to tell them what happened, and then returned home with that neighbor.

Sheriff Adams says he also found the gun she allegedly used in her purse.

As neighbors try to come to terms with their loss, some say they never expected the couple that stayed together for 22 years to come to such a tragic end.

"I've always considered her a very decent person," Kearbey says. Barbara Johnson is being held in the Carter County Jail on $500,000 bond.

The Sheriff tells me some of Cookston's family is expected to arrive from Florida tomorrow.