New Details Uncovered In 2005 Death

March 23, 2006--Posted at 9:30 p.m. CST

JONESBORO, AR --A Region 8 family continues to search for answers in the 2005 death of a Pocahontas woman.

On New Year's Day, 35-year-old Brenda Johnson died from a gunshot wound to her neck. Her boyfriend, 38-year-old Michael Garrett was charged with manslaughter in the case. But that charge doesn't go far enough for Johnson's family.

"Justice. That's it. We feel that it was not accident and we want justice to be served," said the parents of Brenda Johnson in a press conference held Thursday.

After a two month investigation, including 200 hours of research, Johnson's family still has questions.

"In our conclusion, it is mathematically and humanly impossible, that this person was shot as an accident. Her body was moved," said Investigator Don Mullenix.

The Johnson family is upset because a number of details do not match up to the suspect's story. Johnson's father spoke with an EMT who was one of the first people on the scene and his recollection of the crime scene doesn't match up to the evidence.

"He said when he got there and Brenda was lying on the ground with the shotgun between her legs with the rifle between her legs pointing at her head. When we got the pictures the rifle was across the seat of the car. Who moved the rifle?" asked Johnson's father, Daniel Kelly.

"Michael Garrett did previously admit that he pulled the trigger but that has been conveniently left out of the statements," said Linda Kelly, Johnson's mother.

The investigation showed that someone went to great lengths to cover up what happened on New Year's Day 2005.

"There was an accident and that was where he shot his finger off," said Mullinex.

The family is filling a civil suit in an attempt to get all the evidence out so the public can see how the angle of the bullet that killed Brenda Johnson wasn't an accidental shot.

"We feel strongly that this should be filed as a murder case. We have agreed to let him amend the information to make it Murder Two, but the truth is it should be Murder One," said attorney David Rees.

Little comfort to four young children now growing up without their mother.

"Come Mother's Day when people want to be with their mom we will have to do what we do for all holidays and I will take them over to the graveyard and they can put their flowers there," said Dickey Johnson, Brenda's ex-husband.

K8 News tried repeatedly to talk with prosecutor Henry Boyce about the case but he declined our requestsfor an interview.