James Johnson's trial set to start

February 16, 2009 6:00:37 AM PST
Opening statements in the James Johnson trial are set to begin Monday.A week ago, jury selection began for one of Wilson County's highest profile murder cases. In 2004, a 17-year-old Hunt High School graduate, Brittney Willis, was found raped, murdered and dumped at a construction site in Wilson.

Johnson was one of three men arrested for the crime.

After sitting in jail for three years on first degree rape and murder charges, his friend Kenneth Meeks admitted he pulled off the crime single-handedly. Meeks is now in jail for life.

But Johnson still stands accused of accessory after the fact to first degree murder. He says he was taken to the crime scene, Willis' car and in fear for his life helped Meeks clean it up. Johnson went to police three days later and told them what had happened.

The defense says they will argue that Johnson did the right thing by coming forward.

However, the state thinks he should still be punished and it has a list of witnesses ready to help argue that point.


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