Tamarion Johnson convicted of lesser charges; prosecution still sees case as a win

Johnson is convicted of 2nd degree murder and aggravated assault; original charges were 1st degree felony murder & especially aggravated robbery

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – Two days of testimony ended in a conviction for 21-year-old Tamarion Johnson, but it wasn’t for the original charges the prosecutors sought.

The prosecution still sees it as a win.

Judge Don Poole: “In regard to the first count submitted to the jury, would you read your finding please?”
Jury Foreperson: “We find the defendant guilty of second degree murder.”
Poole: “If you would announce the verdict in regard to the second count submitted to you.”
Jury Foreperson: “Guilty of aggravated assault.”

40 seconds changed the life of 21-year-old Tamarion Johnson, now convicted of the murder of 19-year-old Shawnquell Stanfield in 2018.

Stanfield was used to what time means. She understood shot clocks as a basketball player at Hixson High School. Prosecuting attorney AnCharlene Davis said the most poignant line in closing arguments:

“This was the most important clock of her life.”

More from Davis: “Everything was on the line for her. I think in those final moments she knew that that’s what she was fighting for. For the opportunity to, hopefully, walk away from that car or run away from that car with her life, and, unfortunately, she was not able to do that.”

Part of what the prosecution focused on were Johnson’s own words. The statement he gave to police had several damning statements like “That [expletive] was lit” and “I busted her.” He even sent a letter to his now-ex-girlfriend that read “I’m sorry for killing [Stanfield].” While there wasn’t much in the way of direct evidence, the statement went a long way toward his conviction.

Johnson’s defense attorney, Dan Ripper said, “I would say that the jury relied heavily on statements that he gave and the written statements that he gave. That would be the primary evidence that you would rely on in convicting him. There were a lot of other things that we thought pointed in a different direction that we argued to the jury.”

“Sgt. Joe Neighbors with the Chattanooga Police Department did an excellent job in interviewing him. He was able to illicit information from him. Information about how Shawnquell (Stanfield) died and his actions, and we felt that it was an important piece of evidence and we think that the jury heard that evidence and they understood it and they came to a just verdict,” said Cameron Williams. He’s the Executive Assistant District Attorney General for the 11th Judicial District.

With his conviction on second degree murder and aggravated assault charges, Tamarion Johnson is facing a minimum of 11 1/2 years in prison and a maximum of 25 years, minus time served.

Categories: Chattanooga, Crime, Featured, Hamilton County, Local News