Frances Elizabeth “Beth” Johnson murder 7/26/1984 *Husband, Paul Anthony Johnson, convicted, sentenced to life in prison; Conviction overturned*

dv awarenessFrom Johnson’s 1991 appeal: During the early morning hours of July 26, 1984, the body of Frances Elizabeth Johnson, hereinafter “the victim,” was found in the bedroom of the home she shared with the appellant. She was nude, and a towel was draped across her chest. She had been severely beaten about her face and body, strangled, and repeatedly stabbed in the chest. The bedroom had been ransacked; the dresser drawers had been pulled out; and clothing had been scattered about. The victim’s class ring and wedding band, which she normally wore, were missing. However, she was wearing a gold necklace when her body was discovered. The appellant subsequently reported to the police that $600 in cash was missing from her checkbook, which was on the kitchen counter.

Diane Nance, a coworker of the victim, last saw the victim alive when the two of them returned from work at 1:40 a.m. on the date of the homicide. As Nance drove away from the victim’s house, she observed the victim calling her dog, and she heard the dog barking in the distance.

At approximately 3:00 a.m., the appellant arrived at his parents’ house. He was visibly upset, and was screaming and hollering. The appellant’s father called the sheriff’s department and informed someone that there had been a burglary at the appellant’s home and that his wife had been hurt. (However, the dispatcher’s log book does not have a notation regarding this call.) The appellant and his parents then drove to the appellant’s home. While the appellant and his mother waited outside, the appellant’s father went into the house, felt for the victim’s pulse and, finding none, concluded that she was dead. He returned and told his wife and son to go to a neighbor’s house and to call the police. They went to the house of Monroe Harcrowe and called the sheriff’s department. The records of the dispatcher show that this call was received at 3:15 a.m.

As a result of this call, Sheriff Louie Coleman went to the scene. When he arrived, he observed the appellant, the appellant’s parents, and several other people outside the house. He noticed that the appellant was wearing blue jeans, but that he was not wearing a shirt or shoes. He entered the house and observed the victim’s body. He could find no pulse when he touched the body. He noticed that a towel was draped across the upper portion of the body, covering her chest. He additionally noticed blood running from her mouth and bruises on her face and neck. It was obvious that the victim had been severely beaten about the face, neck, and chest area, strangled, and stabbed three times in the upper body region. A butcher’s knife was on the floor next to the body. The tip of the knife was missing, but was later found embedded in the carpeted floor beneath the body.

A subsequent examination of the body indicated that two of the stab wounds penetrated the entire body. The third stab wound did not penetrate the entire body; however, the knife struck the aorta, causing the victim’s death.

It appears that there has not been justice in this case. Please remember Beth, as she lived and had a life before it was cut short.

Find-A-Grave: Frances Elizabeth “Beth” Ezelle
Defendant set up wife’s killing, prosecutor claims in Carrollton
Carrollton man testifies offer made to kill wife (part 1)
Offer (part 2)
Testimony is nearing an end in Pickens County slaying case
Pickens man convicted in killing (part 1)
Pickens (part 2)
Paul Anthony Johnson v State of Alabama 1988 (conviction and sentenced overturned)
Court overturns area murder conviction
Pickens decision disputed
Pickens man freed while awaiting new murder trial
Venue change made in Johnson murder retrial (part 1)
Johnson (part 2)
Pickens murder retrial to begin
Testimony in Pickens trial opens (part 1)
Trial (part 2)
Witness: Slaying suspect father of my child
State rests case in Pickens slaying
Paul Anthony Johnson v State of Alabama 1991 (conviction and sentenced overturned)
Court rules to let convicted killer go free (part 1)
Johnson (part 2)

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