UPDATE: Shawn Johnson Found Guilty of Involuntary Manslaughter - abc27 WHTM

UPDATE: Shawn Johnson Found Guilty of Involuntary Manslaughter


UPDATE 7:15 p.m.:

Lynchburg, VA - A jury has found Shawn Johnson guilty of Involuntary Manslaughter. The jury has recommended that Johnson serve four years in prison.


The jury found Johnson guilty of a lesser charge connected to the death of Thomas Belford. Prosecutors had been asking for second-degree murder.



Lynchburg, VA - Limp like a rag doll. That's how prosecutors describe the final moments of a Lynchburg man's life, as he was choked outside the Elks Lodge last summer.

Shawn Johnson is on trial for second-degree murder, accusing of strangling Thomas Belford to death.

The jury has been deliberating since 5:20 p.m. Monday.

The jury heard about how Thomas Belford was unconscious for at least one minute and 45 seconds while being choked to death.

They've heard Shawn Johnson say he did it in self-defense because he feared for his life.

Now the jury will have the final say about where the case goes from here.

ABC 13 heard from more than a dozen witnesses Monday, including eyewitnesses, investigators and the medical examiner.

The jury saw pictures of Thomas Belford's injuries including exploded capillaries of his eyeballs, bruises on the inside of his neck, and bleeding near his adam's apple.

The fight on August 12, 2012 was allegedly over a pit bull that Johnson sold to Belford but never got paid for.

Prosecutors say the two men exchanged words outside the Elks Lodge, began wrestling and then the fight escalated, partly because of a large crowd of people egging them on.

Johnson took the stand in his own defense Monday, claiming he didn't mean to kill Belford. He didn't find out he had died until he talked to police later that same night.

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