Lamar Co. man charged with murder

Lamar Co. man charged with murder
Brett Johnson is accused of shooting and killing, his girlfriend, Beth Ann Marshall on December 20, 2016.
Brett Johnson. Source: LCSO
Brett Johnson. Source: LCSO

LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - A Lamar County man is behind bars and facing a murder charge in connection to a 2016 shooting.

Brett Johnson, 40, was arrested by Lamar County authorities after they served a high-risk warrant on his home along Old Hwy 24 Thursday morning.

Johnson is accused of shooting and killing, his girlfriend, Beth Ann Marshall on December 20, 2016.

Johnson was charged with second degree murder, and his bond was set at $500,000.

His bond is being held because he was already out on bond for a previous felony possession charge.

Marshall, 36, died from a gunshot wound from a hunting rifle according to Forrest County Deputy Coroner Lisa Klem.

"After talking with the district attorney's office and investigators, we decided to cut a warrant, an affidavit for murder," said Lamar County Sheriff Danny Rigel.  "We got the finalized autopsy report from the state medical examiner's office, and that's what we were waiting for all along."

Rigel said Johnson was the only other person in the trailer off Old Highway 24 when the shooting happened.

"According to preliminary investigation, and what we were could determine from everybody that was anywhere near it…there were just the two people, the victim and him, that was in the trailer when the incident happened," said Rigel.

Marshall's step-father Michael Corley, said the couple had past experiences with domestic violence.

"The whole time they were on again, off again, fussing, fighting, he would come over here and drop her off, within a couple of days he was back running up and down the street, you know… getting her back, ah they would go back to his trailer, fight there, come back here, it was just back and forth, and it was 14 years of it," said Corley.

Rigel said his department needed the full autopsy report to make the final determination in the case.

"We were hearing rumors of this and that, but we had to have it actually documented and written down so we could make our determination," said Rigel. "You know it doesn't always go to someone's time line, but we do it for a reason."

"I just want to see him, get what he deserves," said Corley.

"To make an arrest, it's gratifying, I mean everybody, I always hear the thing especially from people that work homicides, you know…you speak for those who can't speak for themselves," said Rigel. "I give full credit to my investigators, they worked on this doggedly, it wasn't according to some peoples time lines, but like I said, I've been doing this a long time, I've seen, not saying here but other agencies I've seen people rush to conclusions, and it was the wrong conclusion, and it didn't go anywhere in grand jury, they weren't prepared, and I've just found out the better prepared you are when you present this to the grand jury, the more successful you are in a prosecution."