BONNE TERRE, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Corrections carried out its execution of Johnny Johnson for the July 2002 murder of a St. Louis County girl.
The execution was carried out Tuesday, Aug. 1, at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre, Missouri. Johnson, 45, died via lethal injection. He was declared dead at 6:33 p.m.
Johnson’s last statement, filed on July 30, said, “God Bless. Sorry to the people and family I hurt.”
In January 2005, a St. Louis-based jury found Johnson guilty of first-degree murder and other criminal charges (armed criminal action, kidnapping, and attempted forcible rape) in the death of six-year-old Cassandra “Casey” Williamson. A judge sentenced Johnson to the death penalty that March.
A three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit had granted Johnson a temporary stay of sentence on July 25. Johnson’s stay was put in place when his attorneys questioned his mental competence. However, the full court overturned that stay on Saturday, July 29.
When the stay was initially issued last week, Williamson’s mother spoke with FOX 2 about her frustration in that decision, and how her daughter’s murder has affected her entire family for more than two decades.
According to FOX 2’s recent in-depth report on the case, Casey and her family were staying at a friend’s house on Thursday, July 25, 2002, located across the street from their own home. Johnson, described as a family acquaintance, also spent the night at that home.
The following morning, Casey’s father, Ernie Williamson, woke before 7 a.m. to see his daughter standing in the living room with Johnson. When Ernie came back from the restroom, both Casey and Johnny were gone.
Sometime after Casey had been reported missing, two county police officers found Johnson walking down the street near the home where everyone had been staying. According to then-St. Louis County Police Chief Ron Battelle, Johnson was soaking wet. Police took Johnson into custody as the search continued.
Later on, volunteers searched the site of the old St. Louis Plate Glass Company, finding Casey’s body in a pit, less than a mile away from her home.
Johnson is the fourth person executed by the state in 2023.
On June 6, Michael Tisius was executed for killing two unarmed Randolph County jailers in 2000.
The Missouri Department of Corrections executed Leonard Taylor on Feb. 7 for the November 2004 murders of his girlfriend and her three young children.
And on Jan. 3, the state executed Amber McLaughlin, the first openly transgender inmate to be executed. McLaughlin was sentenced to death on Nov. 3, 2006, for the murder of ex-girlfriend Beverly Guenther. During the 2005 trial, prosecutors said McLaughlin, then known as Scott, stalked Guenther, abducted her as she left her job, and stabbed her to death.