Former CHP officer sentenced to 50 years in prison Staff
March 9, 2012 | 1:30 p.m. PST

Downtown Los Angeles, Former California Highway Patrol officer Tomiekia Johnson, was sentenced to 50 years to life in state prison. Johnson, 32, was convicted in the first-degree murder or her husband, in 2009. Johnson claimed throughout the trial that the shooting of her 31-year-old husband, Marcus Lavar Lemons, on Feb. 21, 2009, was an accident. Johnson, a CHP officer at the time, had reported the shooting, but said she shot him in self defense after he became physically abusive during an argument.

Detectives doubted her story and arrested her last January. Prosecutors said Johnson shot Lemons near a 91 Freeway off-ramp, then drove to her parents’ home in Compton with her husband’s body in the passenger seat

Johnson collapsed in court back in January when the guilty verdict was read.

Before sentencing, her attorney requested a new trial, saying the jury had not understood the evidence. But Judge Robert Perry denied the motion, saying the evidence supported the first-degree murder verdict.

Today, Johnson laid her head on the desk as Judge Perry sentenced her to 50 years to life in prison, for the off-duty shooting of Lemons, in Compton in February 2009. The pronouncement stirred an emotional outburst from her family. Johnson’s family support the idea that Johnson claims she was being abused by Lemons during their marriage.

Johnson’s family says the couple had a problem with domestic violence and kept the problem a secret. The parents said they only learned of the difficulties during the trial.

“The secret is that he was abusive. They know that he had a problem, and they did not share that. My daughter didn’t share it with us, I wish she had,” said mother Patricia Johnson.

But Lemon’s supporters say that they were not aware of the couple’s domestic-violence issues.

The defense has 60 days to file papers for an appeal.

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