“Obviously there are various discrepancies [in witness statements], but given the statements of the eyewitnesses I find substantial probability; Mr Johnson had a motive,” Richter said.
The preliminary hearing began on Friday and was completed Monday morning.
Johnson’s attorney, Premal Dharia, argued that the witnesses accounts were unreliable. Three witnesses, she said, gave various stories at different times, recanted them, and described people suspects other than Johnson. Two MPD officers who were eyewitnesses to the crime, said that at least two people were involved in an altercation with Freeman, she said.
Charging documents state that a “lifelong friend” of Freeman’s told detectives that Freeman and others were at the Raymond Recreation Center/Park when someone rode up to Freeman on a bicycle and grabbed Freeman. The two threw each other around “as if they were wrestling,” the friend told detectives. That person also said that Freeman and Johnson were classmates at one time and that Johnson had “picked on” Freeman.
A status hearing has been set in the case for Dec. 21.