Jurors found Irving Harris Johnson guilty Thursday on two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the shooting deaths of Domonique Barbour and Jimmie Lee Simmons III. The jury also found Johnson guilty of several assault and firearm charges in connection with the case.
The jury deliberated for a day and a half before announcing their verdict in the 2011 homicides shortly before noon Thursday.
Judge Lynn Leibovitz’s courtroom was packed for each day of trial testimony, but the verdict came so suddenly that few could make it to the courtroom in time.
At trial, witnesses testified that Johnson had been having a dispute with Barbour and several of his friends. Following a basketball tournament in June 2011, Johnson and one witness engaged in a fist fight. After the fight, Johnson told the witness “it’s never over,” according to trial testimony.
The witness testified that later that night Johnson shot at him.
Another witness testified that while he and Johnson were housed in adjacent jail cells, Johnson admitted that he had shot two people because of a physical altercation that occurred some time ago. The witness said that Johnson’s original plan was to rob one of the men, but “someone made a certain move, so he pulled the trigger.”
Barbour and Simmons died on July 9, 2011. A medical examiner determined that the barrel of the gun was within two feet of their bodies when the shots were fired.
Prosecutors used cell phone tower information to show that Johnson’s phone had been within a mile of the shooting location at the time of the incident. No weapons were ever recovered in connection with the case.
Sentencing has been scheduled for April 25.