Man accused of 2000 murder considering insanity plea
April 1, 2016
Steamboat Springs — Thomas Lee Johnson, the man accused of the May 2000 slaying of Lori Bases, is considering an insanity defense for his third trial.
Johnson appeared in court Friday, and a 13-day trial was scheduled to begin Sept. 21.
Prosecutors have argued Johnson stabbed Bases more than 20 times. Authorities believed he killed the 31-year-old Steamboat Springs woman because he thought she was interfering with his relationship with Kim Goodwin, a good friend of Bases.
Johnson has already been found guilty twice during jury trials, but the Colorado Court of Appeals granted him new trials.
Earlier this year, Johnson chose to represent himself but later changed his mind and asked that Judge Michael O’Hara reappoint attorneys.
In Johnson’s written request to O’Hara, Johnson wrote that he believed materials related to his defense had been lost or stolen.
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Johnson wrote he has been diagnosed with post traumatic stress syndrome “stemming, in part, from Lori Bases’ attack and the prison assault and ongoing threats on his life he received for being a snitch for the District Attorney Office during his last trial.”
Johnson wrote to O’Hara that he was “lost in an emotional thunderstorm” due to PTSD when he chose to represent himself.
O’Hara ultimately granted Johnson’s request and appointed attorneys to represent him.
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