CHARLESTON -- A Charleston man was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday for the May 2004 murder of another Charleston man on the parking lot of Mr. C's Night Club near Morley.
Brandon Johnson, 25, was convicted Jan. 5 of first-degree murder and armed criminal action in a two-day jury trial for the shooting death of Jemorrio A. Betts, 20, on May 9, 2004.
The case was tried in Mississippi County on a change of venue. Judge William Seay of the 42nd Circuit Court Division 1, who was presiding due to the request for a change of judge from the defense, sentenced Johnson to life in prison without parole for the charge of first degree murder and 10 years to run consecutively for the armed criminal action conviction.
"Life in prison without parole on a first degree murder charge means it will be for his natural life," said Scott County Prosecutor Paul Boyd.
Boyd said he believes the 10-year sentence was made consecutive instead of concurrent to send "a message" from the court due to Johnson's prior Mississippi County convictions.
"My husband, my family and I are glad justice has been served for the death of our son, Jemorrio Betts, whom we loved sincerely," said Mary Betts of Charleston.
Betts said she is thankful for all the hard work by Boyd and his staff, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Scott County and Mississippi County sheriff departments and the Major Case Squad on this case.
During the trial, the prosecution described the murder as an ambush while relating to the jury how Betts' vehicle was first blocked in on the nightclub's parking lot before Johnson approached the car and shot the victim.