Caddo jury convicts Harold Free of second-degree murder - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Caddo jury convicts Harold Free of second-degree murder

Harold Free, 61 (Source: Shreveport Police Department) Harold Free, 61 (Source: Shreveport Police Department)
Terry "TJ" Johniken Terry "TJ" Johniken

A Caddo Parish jury has returned a verdict of guilty in the second-degree murder trial of Harold "Bo" Free.

The case was turned over to the jury shortly after 6 p.m. Jury members deliberated just about an hour and a half to return the verdict.  A second-degree murder conviction carries an automatic life sentence.

Prosecutors say Free, 61, shot and killed his stepson, 21-year-old Terry "TJ" Johniken, during a heated argument. The shooting took place at a home in the 6700 block of Jefferson Paige Road in August 2010. Detectives say Free shot  Johniken in the head with a handgun during a family argument. He died the following day.

The trial began on Tuesday, the day Johniken's mother testified and the same day that prosecutors presented audio of a 911 call that captured Johniken's last moments.

Prosecutor Dale Cox said that Free told his stepson, "Turn around boy, I got something for you." just before he shot him between the eyes.

Kathy Free said while on the stand that after her son had been shot Harold told her "I'll just say he was a burglar," to which she replied "He lives here."

The defense told jurors that Terry had a history of violence and aggressive behavior, and that Free believed his life was in danger during the argument. 

Kathy Free says her son was shot trying to defend her and told jurors that Terry had shown no signs of aggression before he was shot.

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