local weather Click for Sun Valley, Idaho Forecast
 front page
 public meetings

 previous edition

 express jobs
 about us
 advertising info
 classifieds info
 internet info
 sun valley central
 sun valley guide
 real estate guide
 sv catalogs
Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
208.726.8060 Voice
208.726.2329 Fax

Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

Friday, July 23, 2004


Johnson murder trial rescheduled to Feb. 1

Judge clears up misconceptions about Monday comments

Express Staff Writer

Just two days after denying a motion to postpone the trial for alleged teenage murderer Sarah M. Johnson, 5th District Judge Barry Wood on Wednesday rescheduled the trial for Feb. 1.

In rescheduling it, Wood reiterated that this is the fourth time a trial date has been set in the case. Before granting the extension, he asked again: "Where do you want to draw a line in the sand?"

Sarah M. Johnson

Wood also took the opportunity to attempt to clear up a misconception that arose from a Wednesday, July 21, article in the Idaho Mountain Express. Restating his point from the Monday hearing, which was quoted in the July 21 newspaper, Wood said that if the defense is arguing its case based on factual innocence, and if defense attorneys were to successfully convince a jury, then an innocent girl is sitting behind bars.

The underlying question was, why postpone the exoneration of an innocent person if she truly has not committed a crime.

Wood was clear at both the Monday and Wednesday hearings that he was stressing his use of the word, "if." Also, his comments did not endorse positions for the prosecution or for the defense.

"I donít have a stake in this thing, but we need to get it done," he said Monday.

Johnson, 17, is accused of murdering her parents, Alan and Diane Johnson, on Sept. 2, 2003, in their Bellevue home. She was 16 at the time of the murders. Since her Oct. 29 arrest, she has been incarcerated at the Blaine County Jail in lieu of a $2 million bond.

Before rescheduling the trial date, Wood was sure to ask Johnson if it was her wish to do so. Her answer was short and to-the-point.

"Yes," she said.

The reason for the extension is a position maintained by both the prosecution and defense attorneys. A significant amount of evidence in the case has only recently been returned from laboratories around the country. Defense attorneys are still examining evidence and determining if they wish to do further testing themselves.

Also, once defense attorneys compile their case, they must share with prosecutors any information they discover that would explicitly exonerate Johnson.

The anticipated Sept. 27 trial date would leave little time to accomplish those tasks, said Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Thomas.

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Aug. 10.


City of Ketchum

Formula Sports


Edmark GM Superstore : Nampa, Idaho

Premier Resorts Sun Valley

High Country Property Rentals

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.