Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Man accused of rape, murder of girlfriend not allowed to skip trial

Harvy Johnson, accused of the rape and murder of his live in girlfriend, 38 year old Kiva Gazaway, was not allowed to skip opening statements from the prosecutor in his murder and rape trial.

Gazaway disappeared April 14, 2007 from her Libery Township, OH home after an argument because she wanted to break up with him. According to police, Johnson led them to Gazaway's body, which he dumped in the ravine.

According to witness testimony, Gazaway threatened to turn in Johnson to police as a convicted felon with a firearm.

A judge denied Johnson’s request to leave the trial, and additional security officers were present and the courtroom locked after authorities said Johnson attacked a bailiff and tried to steal his gun last year during a court appearance in Fairfield.

Defense attorneys admit that Johnson killed Gazaway, but hope that their client can avoid the death penalty. Prosecutors began opening arguments with a recorded phone call where Johnson accused Gazaway of playing games. The DA's office said that the call came after Johnson raped and strangled his girlfriend.

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