COLUMBIA — When Horace Johnson saw the autopsy photographs of his 2-year-old son Wednesday, his eyes filled with tears, and he covered his face with his hand.
It wasn’t the first time Johnson, 27, saw pictures of the burns, bruises and cuts on Cortez Johnson's face, torso, buttocks and genitalia.
On June 27, 2008, Columbia Police Detective Joseph Jackson drove to St. Clair County Jail, where Horace Johnson was being held in connection to his son’s death. Jackson notified him of the toddler’s death and presented to him a couple of the photographs.
“I didn’t see a single tear in his eyes,” Jackson testified Wednesday morning in the 13th Circuit Court for Boone County.
Johnson, 27, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of his son.
The child’s mother, Keyonda Lumpkins, was convicted of second-degree murder in September and was sentenced to 24 years in prison for her role in her son's death. The two were tried separately because they have accused each other of causing the child's fatal injuries.
When Lumpkins brought Cortez’s body to the University Hospital emergency room on June 25, 2008, the body was stiff and cold, Chief Boone County Medical Examiner Carl Stacy testified. Cortez had been dead at least four hours before he came to the hospital. A blow to the head was the cause of death, Stacy said.
After Horace Johnson drove Lumpkins and Cortez to the hospital, he fled to East St. Louis, Ill., where he was arrested the following day, Jackson testified.
At first, Johnson refused to speak to the detective about Cortez’s death, Jackson said.
“(Johnson) said he was too tired and his leg was hurting,” the detective said.
Then Jackson told him that a warrant would be issued for his arrest, and Johnson quickly changed his mind.
“He said he didn’t know that Keyonda was beating Cortez,” Jackson testified. “I asked him, ‘What do you mean you didn’t know? He is covered in injuries from head to toe.’”
Jackson said Johnson told him that Lumpkins would bind Cortez with a belt and that the abuse could not be prevented because at the time, Horace Johnson was bedridden with a leg injury. According to previous Missourian reports, Johnson was shot in the leg June 10, 2008.
Boone County Prosecutor Dan Knight asked Jackson if the defendant said why he didn’t report the abuse or tell anyone else.
“He said he didn’t want to get Keyonda in trouble, and he didn’t think that the injuries would lead to Cortez’s death,” the detective replied.
The trial is scheduled to continue Wednesday afternoon in the Boone County Courthouse with more testimony from Jackson.