(Casper, Wyo.) - Today the eight-day trial began for Fort Washakie man, Koby Dean Johnson
, in federal court in Casper.
Under the supervision of Judge Scott Skavdahl, the 12-member Jury was
selected and the prosecutors presented their case in opening statements.
Johnson is facing life in prison for the first degree murder of his
estranged wife Rachael Noel Johnson. The first degree murder charges
alleges that Johnson purposely, maliciously and with premeditation killed
Rachel. He is also charged with we causing death through use of a firearm.
Both come with a possible penalties of up to life imprisonment.
Today, US Attorney Kerry Jacobson addressed the jury in opening statements:
"He (Johnson) hated her more than he loved them. Koby and Noel had been
married for fifteen years; he was 51, she was 36. Together they had eight
children and lived in Fort Washakie for four years. Noel was working to
complete her last semester of Nursing School at CWC, and the kids have
reported that the two would often times argue, mostly over pills."
"In November 2015, the two were arguing over text messages; in one text,
Noel texted Koby, 'I do love you, but I am not in love with you anymore.'
An hour later he showed up at the house and his kids let him in. They
reported, 'Dad looked mad,' and had his hand in his pocket. He came in,
went to the bedroom where Noel was, slammed the door and locked it. In the
process, he hit his 10-year-old in the head with the door. The kids then
heard their mother screaming for help, then a gunshot went off, and they
knew it was dad's revolver. The oldest boy, went to aid his mother, punched
a hole in the door and looked through the hole. The boy and his brother,
worked to unlock the door, when a second shot was fired.
"Johnson then reportedly ransacked Noel's purse and stormed out and left in
his vehicle. The kids witnessed their mother's purple/black 22 handgun in
her hand, but they had not heard her gun that day. The defendant, Mr.
Johnson, was not seen or heard from until he turned himself in to
"He will tell you that his gun misfired twice. He will claim that he heard
blood hit the floor and then he panicked and left; he did not stop to
render aid to his dying wife.
"This week we will show you what happened seven months ago through the
witnesses who were there. The kids will be seeing their father for the
first time in seven months. We will bring in six of the kids, and we don't
know how this will unfold. We will also bring in the neighbor who the boys
reported to after their father left. He was the first adult to go into the
home, and he believed that Noel was beyond help."
Jacobson went on to explain that FBI analysis, the Fremont County Coroner,
DNA forensic analysis, as well as the defendant, will be called to the
stand this week to testify.
She concluded: "We will prove to you that Koby Dean Johnson is guilty of
premeditated first degree murder. He killed his wife with malicious intent,
and you will know what happened. You will see that this defendant hated his
wife more than he loved his kids."
With his attorney, Johnson sat in the courtroom and they declined to
present an opening statement.
The trial will continue Tuesday, as the prosecutors call their first
witness, the oldest son to the stand.
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