Johnson trial arraignment postponed

Tuesday, October 14, 2008 | 8:55 p.m. CDT; updated 11:10 a.m. CDT, Thursday, September 3, 2009

COLUMBIA — The arraignment of Horace Courtez Johnson, who is charged with second-degree murder in the death of his 2-year-old son, was rescheduled Tuesday in Boone County Circuit Court. Johnson, 26, will now enter his plea on Nov. 3.

The postponement was granted by Boone County Circuit Judge Gene Hamilton because Johnson's attorney, special public defender Stephen Wyse, was not present in court. Wyse could not be reached for comment.

Johnson's son, Cortez Johnson, died on June 25 from blunt-force trauma to the head, the Boone County Medical Examiner's Office found after an autopsy of the body. The office ruled the death a homicide in July. According to the medical examiner's report, Cortez Johnson was burned, cut and bound before he eventually died from the blow to his head.

Keyonda Lumpkin, 26, the boy's mother, is also charged with second-degree murder in the case. She pleaded not guilty on Oct. 6 at a separate arraignment. There are no additional court dates set in her case as of Tuesday afternoon, according to Missouri

The defendants, who were living together at the time of the homicide, accused each other of causing the injuries that led to Cortez Johnson's death, according to a probable-cause statement filed by the Columbia Police Department. The statement indicates that each suspect said the other "inflicted severe injuries on Cortez by hitting him with a belt and an open hand."

Johnson was arrested on a parole violation in East St. Louis in June. Lumpkin was arrested in Columbia in July. The defendents are being held at Boone County Jail.

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Anne Angus December 27, 2008 | 4:58 p.m.

This is late, I know, but I hope those two get the punishment they deserve. This death, little Cortez, it almost too horrible to comprehend. He is an angel.

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