Two suspects in Officer Rickman shooting, burglary case appear in court

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- New details about a burglary and shooting that left Knoxville Police Officer Norman Rickman with several bullet wounds in late May.

At a preliminary hearing for two of the suspects, the judge also heard some dramatic testimony for a 15-year-old girl who said she had a terrifying experience at the hands of the suspected shooter.

It took hours of testimony to lay out the details of the alleged crimes of both suspects.

In the end, the judge finds enough probable cause to send both defendant's cases to the grand jury.

Clevan Johnson begins his day in court with smiles for the cameras. But no-one was smiling when witnesses testified about his alleged activates during the past few months. Even before witnesses said the first word about the day in May when Officer Norman Rickman was shot, new details surface about an unrelated incident in March. A 15-year-old, whose face we are hiding because of her age, testified that she was babysitting when Johnson and two others stormed into the house demanding drugs and money.

A juvenile witness took the stand and said, "The man right there put his arm around me, put a gun to my head and told me he was going to kill me unless I told him where the dope was."

That incident led to three charges of aggravated kidnapping against Johnson. He faces 18 counts in all, stemming from several incidents, ranging from drug possession and driving offenses to attempted murder. James Willie Murry is charged with especially aggravated burglary and a weapons possession charge. Witness Haushann Simpson is not charged with any crime, but he did testify that he was with Johnson and Murry on the day of the shooting. In fact he drove them to the neighborhood where the shooting happened. He even gave Johnson a ride out of that same neighborhood minutes after the shooting occurred. So what did Johnson say to him then?"

On the stand, Simpson said, "He just said, I think somebody got shot but he never said that he shot anyone or anybody else who was with us had shot anyone."

But the key testimony comes from Ashley Thompson who says she's the mother of Johnson's child. The judge ordered the media not to show any pictures of her. But it's her words that are important, as she offers testimony about Johnson's conversation with her."

In testimony, Thompson said, "He said he heard somebody say freeze and he turned around and shot."

Now that the cases have been bound over, the grand jury will make another review of the evidence against both suspects.

If the members of the grand jury choose to indict, the cases will be headed to Knox County Criminal Court sometime in the next few months.


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