Life Without Parole for Convicted Killer in Valentine's Day Massacre - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Life Without Parole for Convicted Killer in Valentine's Day Massacre

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The three victims The three victims

UPDATE AUGUST 25TH 2:30PM

CLEVELAND (WRCB) -- A Bradley County jury gave life without parole to a convicted killer in the Valentine's Day murders committed more than a decade ago.

Maurice Johnson got three consecutive life sentences.

Eyewitness News is getting reaction to the decision and WRCBtv.com will have more information as it becomes available.

UPDATE AUGUST 25TH 11:45am

CLEVELAND (WRCB) -- The son of the man convicted in the murderS of three people in 1999 says his father could not have done the crime.

The jury is now deliberating the sentencing for Maurice Johnson. 

UPDATE AUGUST 24TH

CLEVELAND, Tenn. (AP) - An East Tennessee jury has convicted a man in the 1999 slayings of three people who were shot as they knelt on the floor with their hands bound behind their backs.
      The Cleveland Daily Banner reports that jurors who returned the guilty verdict Monday against 39-year-old Maurice Johnson in Cleveland are returning Tuesday for the sentencing phase of the trial in the three fatal shootings on Valentine's Day a decade ago.
      Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
      Police have described the killings as a "revenge-type attack."
      Two co-defendants are to be tried later.
      Killed were 30-year-old Dawn Rogers, 19-year-old Cayci Higgins and 18-year-old O.J. Blair.
      Johnson was already in custody on federal cocaine distribution charges when indicted for the murders.
      ---
      Information from: Cleveland Daily Banner, http://www.clevelandbanner.com/

     
      (Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

CLEVELAND (WRCB) -- A jury has found the first suspect guilty in Cleveland's Valentines Day murder trial.
  Maurice Johnson is the first suspect to go to trial.
  Johnson was convicted on three counts of murder and one count of especially aggravated robbery.
  O-J Blair, Cayci Higgins and Dawn Rogers were shot execution-style in an apartment in 1999.
  Twanna Blair was shot and survived and was later charged as a conspirator.
  The jury will convene Tuesday to determine Johnson's sentence; he faces the death penalty.

UPDATE AUGUST 21ST 6:30 PM

CLEVELAND (WRCB) -- Witness accounts of the Valentine's day murders of 1999 were at the forefront as each was asked about the connection between the accused killer Maurice Johnson and the only surviving member of the shooting, Twanna Blair.

"They would step around the corner and talk, you didn't want everybody to hear what you were talking about. There was a lot of stuff going on back then," said Van Ellison.

Johnson, Blair and a third suspect, Micheal Younger, are accused of killing O.J. Blair, Cayci Higgins and Dawn Rogers execution style on February 14, 1999 after an altercation at a party the day before.

Prosecutors played actual police video of the crime scene. The TBI agent who recorded the footage that day testified about what he saw. 

Several witnesses say they knew Johnson personally and testified that Johnson and O.J. Blair had an altercation at a party the night before the shooting. But none identified Johnson as the killer.

Defense attorneys accused investigators of putting pressure on witnesses. 

August 21st

CLEVELAND (WRCB) -- Three witnesses have testified so far that there was an altercation the night before the Valentines Day murders that claimed three lives in Cleveland in 1999. Several said the accused, Maurice Johnson, said "I handled it" but they did not specifically say Johnson admitted to the murders. 

August 18th

CLEVELAND (WRCB) -- A suspect in the 1999 "Valentine's Day Murders" in Cleveland will go to trial Tuesday morning.
     It's been more than a decade since O-J Blair, Cayci Higgins and Dawn Rogers were found murdered in an apartment.
     Twanna Blair was shot in the back but was later charged as a conspirator in the triple murder.
     Tuesday morning, Maurice Johnson will stand trial.
     Michael Younger is also charged.   Both he and Johnson face the death penalty.

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