Preliminary hearing again postponed for Johnsons

Matt Stensland
Lucas M. Johnson
courtesy/ Routt County Sheriff’s Office

— A preliminary hearing has been postponed again for the couple officials believe are responsible for the murder of Ed Zimmerman.

Kristen and Lucas Johnson’s three-day hearing is now scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 29.

The Johnsons last appeared in court June 23, and the new hearing was scheduled after new attorneys were chosen to represent Kristen Johnson.

Lucas Johnson is being represented by the Routt County Public Defender’s Office, which felt it was a conflict of interest to also represent Kristen Johnson. Steamboat Springs attorney Leslie Goldstein was originally appointed as alternative defense counsel for Kristen Johnson.

Castle Rock attorney Tina Tussay and Denver attorney Mark Walta were then authorized by the Office of Alternative Defense Counsel to represent Kristen Johnson.

Numerous motions have been filed since the Johnsons were formally charged. The Johnsons have been charged with first-degree murder, second-degree burglary, child abuse, possession with the intent to manufacture or distribute more than 50 pounds of marijuana and theft. Kristen Johnson has been charged as an accomplice. Lucas Johnson has also been charged with aggravated motor-vehicle theft.

Among the numerous motions, lawyers representing the Johnsons have asked that the Johnsons not be shackled and be allowed to wear street clothes during court appearances.

The Johnsons were charged after Zimmerman’s body was found in a shed outside the Johnsons’ rental home in rural Routt County between Steamboat and Stagecoach.

According to court documents, prosecutors believe Zimmerman was murdered and the Johnsons stole Zimmerman’s medical marijuana plants.

A friend told investigators Zimmerman at one point said there had had been a falling out with Lucas Johnson over money.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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