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Murder prelim postponed until Aug. 6

Wednesday, July 7, 2004

BENTON - Due to lack of evidence, the preliminary hearing for Brandon C. Johnson, charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action for the May 9 shooting death of Jemorrio A. Betts at Mr. C's Night Club near Morley, is rescheduled for next month.

On Tuesday the prosecution was granted a continuance by Judge David C. Mann in the Associate Division 5 of the 33rd Judicial Circuit Court during what was initially to be Johnson's preliminary hearing.

"We're waiting for all of the lab reports to come back. We just don't have all of the evidence," explained Scott County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Boyd, who requested the continuance.

Johnson's preliminary hearing was rescheduled for 10 a.m. Aug. 6 before Mann. Johnson, 23, of Charleston will remain in the Scott County Jail without bond.

According to police reports, Betts entered the doorway of the Mr. C's Nigh Club around 12:39 a.m. May 9 and collapsed on the floor. Johnson was arrested within a couple of hours of the incident following a preliminary investigation.

A .22-caliber revolver was also located about 300 feet south of entrance of Mr. C's and is believed to be the murder weapon. However, conclusions are not official.

Upon receiving the news of Johnson's hearing continuance, family members of both the victim and Johnson tried to remain optimistic.

"It's probably better he's not released. He's probably safer here (Scott County Jail)," noted one of Johnson's family members after the announcement of the continuance.

And Betts‚ family is also thinking positive.

"Whatever it takes to get justice," said Betts‚ sister, Patricia Tyus, about the continuance.

"If they have to continue and need the evidence, then we'll be patient. We just want them to get it right."

And Tyus, who traveled from Decatur, Ill., for the hearing, said the family will remain patient until justice is served. Tyus said: "We don't want them to skip any beats."