Johnson walks out of courtroom on final day of prosecution’s case
Elizabeth Johnson walked out of the courtroom on Tuesday during the final day of the prosecution’s case. She appeared in court for the morning session but returned from the lunch break and told Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Joseph Kraemer “I really don’t feel like I can be here.”
Defense counsel Marc Victor explained to the court out of the presence of the jury that Johnson anticipated that she would be too emotional while listening to audio recordings the prosecution intended to play for the jury at the end of the day’s session.
Judge Kraemer allowed Johnson to leave and told jurors they could not consider or speculate about Johnson’s departure.
This may have been a tactical decision as well by Victor, since the audio recordings included many disparaging comments. In a recording of a phone conversation between Johnson and Gabriel’s father Logan McQueary, she told him that she killed Gabriel and put him in a dumpster. She then blamed McQueary saying “You made me do it” and “you know what I’m capable of.”
The prosecution also played a 25-minute “confrontation call” set up by the Tempe Police Department during which Johnson and Tammi Smith, a Scottsdale woman that wanted to adopt Gabriel, argued over each other’s involvement in Gabriel’s disappearance.
The two women vehemently accused one another of being crazy and lying to police. Johnson accused Smith of organizing the entire adoption in San Antonio, masterminding the entire “plan and telling her to lie on a paternity affidavit by including other possible fathers.
Smith adamantly maintained that she only told the truth to the police and that Johnson just needed to tell people where Gabriel was. Ultimately an exasperated Smith threatened Johnson by telling her “[w]e are going to sue you…you ruined our lives,” and “that we are going to nail you to the wall.”
Johnson accused Smith of trying to “throw her under the bus,” to which Smith responded “Elizabeth, you belong under the bus.”
The prosecution called their final witness at the end of the day Tuesday. They called 29 witnesses in total. The two sides will meet to discuss jury instructions in the weeks to come, and the jury will reconvene on October 16 to hear closing arguments. This schedule may change if Victor decides to put Johnson on the stand. He stated that he will make that decision by October 15.
Ryan Kerns, Esq., Wild About Trial
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