Man accused of slaying mother of 2 faces clemency hearing

Published: Mar. 23, 2017 at 7:07 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 23, 2017 at 10:47 PM CDT
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SEVIER COUNTY, AR (KSLA) - Arkansas will resume death row executions next month, with eight inmates scheduled to have their sentences carried out.

One of those set for execution is Stacey Eugene Johnson, of DeQueen, Ark.

"It was horrendous, horrible crime, brutal crime," Arkansas Circuit Judge Tom Cooper recalled.

Twenty years ago, Cooper served as prosecuting attorney for Judicial District 9 West and, as such, prosecuted Johnson's second trial in connection with the slaying of a DeQueen resident.

"The only time I lost my composure in this case was when I described to the jury what the officers seen when arriving at Carol Heath's house," Cooper said.

Police found the 25-year-old woman dead in her Sevier County Housing Authority apartment in April 1993.

"Her throat had almost been cut completely through her spleen. And in her blood around her body, you could see the footprints of her 2- and 6-year-old children who had been walking around their Mama before being found the next day hiding in a closet."

Now Cooper is preparing to testify before the Arkansas Clemency Board.

Johnson has a hearing before the panel Friday.

Johnson's attorneys want to change his sentence from death to life in prison.

"I feel as strongly then as I do now, that the sentence our county jury and the Sevier County jury gave him was justified in this case," Cooper said.

After two trials and numerous hearings, he thinks it is time for Johnson's sentence to be carried out.

Heath's family members also are expected to testify during Friday's hearing.

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