Prosecution rests its case in Thomas Lee Johnson murder trial |

Prosecution rests its case in Thomas Lee Johnson murder trial

The Record
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— The prosecution rested its case, and the defense began calling witnesses Tuesday in the Thomas Lee Johnson first-degree murder trial.

The defense called former detective Dave Kleiber to testify. In addition to helping investigate the May 12, 2000, murder of Lori Bases, Kleiber investigated vandalism that occurred to Bases’ car a month before she was killed.

The prosecution has argued that Johnson did not like the friendship Bases had with Kim Goodwin, Johnson’s girlfriend at the time. The prosecution has presented their theory that Johnson slashed Bases’ car tire similar to the way Johnson slashed and killed Bases.

Kleiber testified about another man police investigated in connection to the Bases homicide. The man had gone to a pawn shop with a knife and 10 compact discs a couple of days after Bases’ car was vandalized.

The defense inferred the compact discs had been taken from Bases’ car. Kleiber testified that a sharp object like a knife had been used to slash the tire.

The defense has argued that Johnson defended himself when Bases attacked him when he went to talk to her a month after her tire had been slashed. Bases was stabbed and cut about 20 times.

The defense is expected to call more witnesses Wednesday and Thursday. Judge Michael O’Hara is hopeful that both sides will be able to present their closing arguments Thursday afternoon so the jury can begin deliberations.

If the jury is unable to return a verdict by the end of the day Friday, O’Hara has made arrangements for the trial to go into next week.

Johnson has already had been tried twice for the Bases murder. Because of legal constitutional issues during the trials, new trials were ordered.

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

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