Charges Upgraded in Death of Pocahontas Woman

APRIL 27, 2006 - Posted at 8:13 a.m. CST

POCAHONTAS, AR - A man facing trial for manslaughter in the shooting death of a Pocahontas woman outside her home now faces a second-degree murder accusation after the prosecutor upgraded the charge.  Michael Lynn Garrett was charged in the January 1, 2005 death of Brenda Johnson.  Johnson was shot in the neck with a shotgun while sitting in a car outside her home; police said the shotgun blast also took off part of one of Garrett's fingers.  Garrett told police the shooting was an accident.

Prosecutor Henry Boyce declined to say why he upgraded the charge.  He said it wasn't because of a letter he received last year questioning whether the shooting was an accident.

The family of Brenda Johnson recently held a news conference in the office of Jonesboro attorney David Rees, calling for the investigation to be re-opened and for an upgrade in charges.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)