Update: State executes Johnson

Tuesday, December 1, 2009 at 6:25pm

UPDATED — After a 29-year stint on death row, convicted murderer Cecil C. Johnson was executed Wednesday, making him the sixth prisoner put to death by the state since capital punishment was reinstated in 2000.

Johnson was pronounced dead at 1:34 a.m. Wednesday. 

The execution closed a bloody chapter in Nashville’s history that began in 1980 with a robbery-homicide that left three dead, including a 12-year-old boy.

In a last effort to put the execution on hold, attorneys and supporters filed a wave of documents in U.S. District and Supreme courts.

The only successful filing was a request to stop a post-execution autopsy.

Johnson claimed that an autopsy would amount to desecration because of a 'sincerely held religious belief,' but the state argued it was another attempt to the stop his execution.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Echols granted the temporary restraining order.

Ann Charvat, the director of Reconciliation Ministries, submitted a stay of execution request with the U.S. Supreme Court late Tuesday. The filing asked the court to hold up the execution in order to “prevent the traumatic harm that will occur to Mr. Johnson’s child and other children of the incarcerated, should he be executed.”

The court denied the request around 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Earlier attorneys had submitted unsuccessful applications for a stay of execution and writ of certiorai to the court. The filings again challenged the execution on the grounds that Johnson’s lengthy death row sentence was cruel and unusual punishment and that the lower courts must be asked to reexamine whether or not his constitutional rights have been violated.

Appeals to both Gov. Phil Bredesen and Judge Echols were also unsuccessful.

Johnson was convicted of the July 1980 murders of Charles House, James Moore and Bobby Bell Jr. of Nashville.

That night, the perpetrator entered Bob Bell’s Market, located on 12th Avenue South and demanded the store’s money. Before leaving, Johnson killed 12-year-old Bobby Jr., shot two other men inside the store and shot and killed two men waiting in a taxi outside.

Johnson has maintained his innocence throughout. No physical evidence linked him to the crime scene, although four eyewitnesses identified Johnson at his trial as the gunman.

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Judge dismisses convicted killer's request for injunction

21 Comments on this post:

By: TharonChandler on 12/1/09 at 7:38

Will you write about the man from Memphis on death row in TN; the one accused of killing E Wright in late 97 or early 98? There is a lot of mystery around that incident, and some politics and there was attempted cover-up in the news. There should never be any execution of anyone whom might have evidence in a capitol murder case. Further, killing a man after 30 years on death row is like adding insult to injury; it would be far worse a time than never having lived.

By: gen0207 on 12/1/09 at 7:51

Gosh--is there a proof reader in the house? It is appellate not appellant and execution not executive.

By: dargent7 on 12/2/09 at 6:19

Just caught Cecil's "daddy" on the news. "You all don't know him".."He is my hero".
I say we execute "daddy" tonight and make it a true daily-double.

By: HighlyAnnoyed on 12/2/09 at 10:30

Executions serve no real usefull purpose. They are only to satisfy the blood thirsty masses and give them a false sense of justice and security.

By: d4deli on 12/2/09 at 12:21

Why do we kill people to show that killing people is wrong? An interesting paradox.

By: Cookie47 on 12/2/09 at 1:46

He got what he deserved and this world is better off without him.

Now, everyone, sing with me (to The Christmas Song tune): "This nut's roasting on an open fire, the devil's nipping at his heels...."


By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/2/09 at 2:53

that's sick, Cookie. one murder does not justify a second.

By: Cookie47 on 12/2/09 at 2:57

Blanket Nazi,

Yes, the song lyrics are sick but not near as sick as this scum placing a gun to a 12 year-old's head and pulling the trigger. I'm not 100% for the death penalty but in this case, I am.


By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/2/09 at 3:26

life without parole would have kept him out of society.

By: Cookie47 on 12/2/09 at 3:30

Tell that to the 12 year-old's father who had to watch his son being killed.


By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/2/09 at 3:32

do you know for sure that man is for the death penalty? bloodlust does not create a better society.

By: ghost7638ghost7... on 12/2/09 at 3:36

You sick oh's who thinks that it's ok to spare a child murder from the death penalty makes me sick. What about that 12 year old boy that he killed, is he enjoying life for the past 28 years. No he is in a cold grave some where and now the one who put him there is beside each other, except the boy has a 28 year headstart.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/2/09 at 3:41

ghost, the death penalty will never bring that child back. giving our government the power to execute does nothing positive for society. it does not decrease crime and it does not save money. we are the only first world country that continues to allow executions.

By: Dragon on 12/2/09 at 3:42

He wasn't worth the drugs used to kill him, much less the money and effort to keep him alive in prison for the next few decades.

By: Cookie47 on 12/2/09 at 3:58

No, I have no idea if the boy's father is for the death penalty. I do know if it was one of my sons, I would be for it and wouldn't have a problem throwing the switch or pushing the plunger while looking into the eyes of the person in the chair or lying on the table.

Why should we spend tens of thousands of dollars per year housing and feeding this scum when the three people he killed didn't have a chance? NO! His body is taking the permanent dirt nap and his soul is in hell where it belongs. Goodbye! Good riddance! He's gone!!!


By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/2/09 at 4:01

Cookie, if you look at studies you will realize that it costs MORE to execute than life without parole. I didn't believe that until someone showed it to me, but it is so. I'm not defending this man as an individual, i'm saying that it is not good for our government or society at large to continue executions. it serves no purpose.

By: Cookie47 on 12/2/09 at 4:16

If a person kills someone and there's irrefutable evidence they did it, why should we house and feed them until they die? Please explain to me why you think that person deserves to live after killing another, especially a 12 year-old.


By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/2/09 at 4:26

well, for one thing there have been people who were executed and then later discovered to have been innocent. beside that obvious point, why should our government be given the authority to kill one of its citizens? other than bloodlust on your part, what is the value?

By: Cookie47 on 12/2/09 at 4:41

Like I wrote before, I'm not 100% for the death penalty but what about "irrefutable evidence" - witnesses, DNA, etc.? If this guy and others had the fear of the death penalty hanging over them, maybe they would just leave with the money or, better yet, get a job.


By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/2/09 at 4:43

Cookie, studies have show that the death penalty is no deterrant. seriously, read some articles. i used to not believe it either.

By: Cookie47 on 12/2/09 at 4:55

Part of the problem is society has become too desensitized. There's no consequences for one's actions anymore. If I did something wrong, I knew dear old Dad was going to beat my butt off. If I did something wrong at school, I took "licks" there and hoped to God Dad didn't find out. Discipline has gone out the window and people just don't give a damn anymore.

This guy just wanted the money and had no regard for the kid or the consequences. Society is better off without him or others like him.