“I plead guilty. I done it.”
That’s what Terrelle Johnson, then 29, told the Sun Herald and other media last year when he was led into Stone County Justice Court for an initial appearance in the gruesome killing of his mother.
Sherry Johnson, 51, a school guidance counselor, was found dead in the backyard of her Wiggins home in June 2018. She had been decapitated and officials had to use her torso to identify her.
Stone County Sheriff’s Capt. Ray Boggs testified last year that Johnson said he decapitated his mother with a butter knife, using his hands and teeth to remove her head.
It’s been more than one year since Johnson’s initial court appearance, and he is still held at the Stone County jail. A grand jury indicted him on a first-degree murder charge in January.
Johnson was scheduled to have an arraignment hearing this week, but now the state has ordered a psychological evaluation to see if Johnson is fit to stand trial, said Jim Davis, Johnson’s attorney.
An independent psychological evaluation has already been completed, Davis said.
“We have already forwarded all the information to have to them (prosecutors),” Davis said.
A status hearing on the psychological evaluation is set for Sept. 9. Davis said the hearing could get continued if the state has not performed the evaluation by then.
Davis said Johnson has a history of mental illness and has been treated at impatient facilities “numerous times.”
“Do you think a reasonable person would grant television interviews and start telling reporters ... giving comments that are definitely not in their best interest?” Davis told the Sun Herald Wednesday.
If Johnson is declared unfit for trial, Davis said he will be transferred to the state hospital at Whitfield. A report will be given to the court every 60 days to determine if there’s a probability that he’ll be fit to stand trial.
Davis said Johnson is not with the general population at the jail.
“All the guards tell me he’s doing just fine, but I question that a little bit because he’s still in solitary confinement and they don’t want him around any other inmates,” he said.
A lawsuit filed in March alleges that Johnson bit off another inmate’s nose and lips when he was in the Stone County jail on an unrelated charge.