Trinity man claims self-defense in murder trial

By Jena Johnson - email

GROVETON, TX (KTRE) - A Trinity man on trial for the death of another man claimed self-defense Wednesday in Trinity County District Court.

After several hours of deliberation the jury was hung, which led the judge to declare a mistrial.

The defense argued Cornelious Womack, 20, fired two shots at Jason Johnson, 23, in self-defense.

Johnson was shot and killed on the night of Nov. 28, 2008 in his front yard in Trinity.

According to eye witness testimony from earlier this week, Johnson was in an argument with his girlfriend. Johnson's girlfriend is Womack's sister.

In closing arguments, Womack's lawyer, Mike Davis, said his client was horribly afraid of Jason Johnson.

"It is indisputable that Jason Johnson was a drug dealer," said Davis. "He was violent and he had it out for Cornelious."

According to a previous interview with Trinity Police Chief Steve Jones, Womack fired two shots at Johnson while sitting in the driver's seat of his powder blue car.

Johnson was shot in the groin and shoulder.

The defense argues Johnson "rushed" towards Womack's car in a threatening manner.

Johnson's mother, Rochelle Taylor, is desperate to find justice.

"He was everything to me," Taylor said. "That was my only son."

Two years ago, she buried her 23-year-old son. It's haunted her ever since.

"I see him laying on that table with no breath in his body, no breath in his body and I'm calling him and he'll usually say, 'Mama, I'm alright, I'm alright,'" she said. "I didn't get that."

According to the prosecution, 20-year-old Cornelious Womack fired two gunshots from the driver's seat of his car. Womack claims self-defense.

"He already admitted that he did do the shooting and if you shoot a person one time and they go down, why would you shoot them twice?" said Debrah Grooms, Johnson's aunt. "And my nephew was unarmed and he was on his own property."

Grooms says her family has been on an emotional roller coaster.

"I'm angry, I'm sad, I'm very hurt, very emotional," Grooms said. "I feel empty."

Taylor says she's waited to come face-to-face with her son's accused killer.

"I just pray that me and my family can at least try to move on and I know it's going to be hard for us to move on because this will never go away," Taylor said. "This will never go away."

Only justice will give way to Taylor's family.

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