Judge hears retrial motionPublished 9:51pm Thursday, May 22, 2014
Motions for a new trial filed by a Troy man were heard by a judge this week, just before the deadline to hear them expired.
Convicted sex offender Mitchell Bernard Johnson represented himself during his trial for the rape and sodomy of a 15-year-old. He also represented himself when he entered a handful of motions for a new trial after his conviction.
On the day Circuit Judge Jeff Kelley was to rule on the motions, Johnson requested a lawyer and a continuance.
Kelley reappointed January Ellis for the task. She had served as advisory council for Johnson during his trial in December 2013.
A jury found Johnson guilty of rape in the first degree and sodomy in the first degree. The incident happened in the Spring Hill community on Oct. 14, 2010.
Kelley sentenced Johnson to life without the possibility of parole for each conviction on March 25. He had 60 days from the sentencing to rule on the motions.
When the court convened May 7 and Kelley was prepared to rule on the motions, the judge told Johnson he could not guarantee he could hear the case again before the May 24 deadline. The court reconvened Thursday morning, two days shy of the deadline.
“We had a hearing on all his pending motions for a new trial,” said Assistant District Attorney Jon Folmar. “The judge took it under advisement.”
Palmer and Ellis agreed to extend the deadline for Kelley’s ruling until June 30.
The District Attorney’s Office said they would continue fighting for the victim.
“We stand by the conviction and by the jury verdict,” said Folmar. “We feel just in the case and feel Mr. Johnson received the right verdict.”