Another Wayne County family says Dist. Attorney treated them unfairly
A Wayne County family, the Andrews, have been outraged all week because the man who killed their loved one has been allowed to plead guilty to second degree murder. This is after he shot and killed his estranged wife last February.
In a story we covered earlier this week, the Andrews family said the Wayne County District Attorney never called them about a plea deal, a trial, or anything. Now, we've been contacted by another Wayne County family who says they are in a similar boat.
In December, 2012, a mother and her daughter were shot over a text message. Belinda Walters noticed a text on her unnamed 13-year-old's cell phone from 20-year-old Forrest Johnston.
"Not only was he trying to meet with a thirteen year old child and trying to get her to meet him in the middle of the night. All she said was Beth, I want to show you these messages your son has been sending my thirteen year old daughter," said Whitleigh Harrelson, Belinda Walters' daughter.
Belinda, her husband and Whitleigh confronted Johnston at his residence about the texts. At the door, they say they were met with Forrest Johnston's mother, Mary Elizabeth, who had a shotgun. That's when she shot Whitleigh in the leg. After that, Forrest joined his mother in the shooting.
"As they were driving down the driveway to leave, he, Forrest Johnston, shot my daughter in the back of the head in cold blood murder," said Marti George, Belinda's mother.
Whitleigh watched her mother die.
"He shot my mother with a thirty ounce six," Whitleigh said.
Forrest Johnston's bail was initially set at a million dollars, then reduced to $100,000. Johnston is now out on bond. A trial in this case was supposed to be this week, but enough jurors did not show up in court. The judge declared a mistrial.
"He does not need to be walking out on the streets and spending time with his mother," said Belinda's mother.
One source told Seven on your Side that the judge tried to make a plea deal with Johnston by seeing if he would plead second degree murder. The source says Johnston turned that down, and hopes to plead to manslaughter in court. The family says District Attorney Bilbo Mitchell has failed to keep them in the loop.
"We have called, my mother and I have called the D-A; we have left messages after messages for him to call us," said Joanna Jordan, Belinda Johnston's sister.
We tried contacting District Attorney Bilbo Mitchell several times throughout the week, but received no answer.
Forrest Johnston's Attorney, Eric Hessler, called Thursday and said Forrest had to make a split second decision, and that he feels confident a fair and partial jury will see that he had no other choice when he shot and killed Belinda Walters. The trial in this case begins in early May, 2014.