Johnson found guilty of first-degree murder |

Johnson found guilty of first-degree murder

Sentence hearing to be held Jan. 16

Gary E. Salazar

— A Larimer County jury on Wednesday found Thomas Lee Johnson guilty of killing Lori Bases last year in Steamboat Springs.

The jury deliberated more than eight hours spread across two days before finding Johnson, 31, guilty of first-degree murder at 2:15 p.m. Wednesday. The jury also found Johnson guilty of criminal mischief and criminal trespassing.

Johnson showed no emotion when the verdict was read. Members of Bases’ family cried.

A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Jan. 16 in Fort Collins. Johnson faces up to life in prison.

Johnson stabbed the 31-year-old Bases to death on May 11, 2000, in her Steamboat Springs apartment. Evidence presented at trial showed Bases was stabbed more than 20 times.

Norm Townsend, Johnson’s court-appointed defense attorney, argued Johnson killed Bases in self-defense. He portrayed Bases as a paranoid cocaine user who slept with a knife by her bed.

But District Attorney Paul McLimans argued Johnson first planned and then murdered Bases because she was disrupting his relationship with his girlfriend, Kimberly Goodwin.

Judge Joseph P. Quinn moved the trial from Steamboat Springs to Fort Collins because of pre-trial publicity surrounding the case.

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