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Waiting for the verdict

Jury deliberations begin this week

Gary E. Salazar

— This week a Larimer County jury will decide the fate of Thomas Lee Johnson for the death of Lori Bases.

The 12-member jury will decide if Johnson murdered the woman at her Steamboat Springs apartment May 11, 2000, or protected himself and killed the woman in self-defense.

Over seven days, close to 40 witnesses testified, but the testimony of Kimberly Goodwin could be the main factor for the jury when deciding if the 31-year-old Johnson planned to kill Bases at her apartment on Steamboat Boulevard.

The eight women and four men on the panel will listen to closing arguments at 9 a.m. Tuesday morning at the Larimer County Justice Center in Fort Collins.

It is Goodwin who described Bases as being her “best friend.” She testified she and Bases were planning to move in together in the summer of 2000.

“We talked about maybe moving to San Diego,” Goodwin said.

Prosecutors claim Johnson planned to kill the 31-year-old Bases because she was interfering with his relationship with Goodwin.

Goodwin testified that on the evening of May 7, 2000, she broke up with Johnson. Johnson’s attorneys claim Goodwin did not break up with Johnson but was planning to marry him.

During the trial, defense attorney Norm Townsend questioned Goodwin’s honesty and called her a “liar.”

“We know you are a liar,” Townsend said to the woman. “When it suits your purpose, you lie. The only question is when do you lie.”

During the trial, Goodwin’s testimony was inconsistent with what she told investigators after Bases’ death.

Goodwin’s father also testified he has trouble believing his daughter at times.

“Kim mixes truth with lies,” William Goodwin said. “She lies so much she believes her own lies.”

Critical for the jury will be Goodwin’s testimony regarding the weeks before Bases was killed.

In April 2000, Goodwin claims Johnson raped her at her Longmont home.

Goodwin said she turned to her friend after the April 7 incident and spent a weekend in Steamboat Springs.

Goodwin testified Bases was not “very happy” with what Johnson allegedly did.

Initially, Goodwin told Weld County authorities Johnson raped her but later recanted her story. Charges were never filed against Johnson.

Townsend claims Goodwin alienated Bases the weekend before she was killed.

Goodwin was supposed to spend May 5, 6 and 7 with her friend.

Instead, she canceled plans with Bases and spent the weekend in Colorado Springs with Johnson.

Bases’ sister, Kim Cameron, testified her sister spent the weekend with her.

Cameron testified her sister was “disappointed” with Goodwin but did not make a “big deal out of it.”

Townsend claims Bases was mad at Goodwin and was not intending to move in with her.

Telephone records seem to support Townsend’s claim. Prior to the weekend, Bases called Goodwin 10 times. After May 5, Bases did not make one telephone call to Goodwin.

Goodwin testified she talked to her friend May 9.

According to Goodwin’s telephone records, the two talked for 35 minutes. The phone records indicate a one-minute break, and Goodwin called back and talked for an additional seven minutes.

“She hung up on you?” Townsend asked Goodwin.

Goodwin said she could not recall why there was a break in their conversation.

“I think she had to go to the bathroom or something,” Goodwin said. “Lori would not have hung up on me.”

Goodwin testified her friend was not upset with her for spending the weekend with Johnson.

Telephone records also seem to support Townsend’s claim Goodwin did not break up with Johnson May 7.

On that day, Goodwin made 18 telephone calls to places available for rent in Colorado Springs.

“We were looking for possible places to live,” Goodwin said of her and Johnson.

The evening that Goodwin said she broke up with Johnson she stayed with him in Colorado Springs and they were intimate, Townsend said.

However, Goodwin testified she and Johnson were through.

“It was over,” Goodwin said. Johnson “was losing control of the relationship and he didn’t like that.”

Prosecutors claim because Goodwin ended the relationship, Johnson rented a silver Mitsubishi Montero in Denver the afternoon of May 11, 2000, and drove to Steamboat Springs with the intention of killing Bases.

Johnson’s attorneys claim Johnson drove to Steamboat Springs to talk to Bases because Goodwin was upset. Bases said she would not be the maid-of- honor in her wedding.

Goodwin ended up marrying Johnson May 28, 2000, in Las Vegas. The marriage ended in December 2000 when Goodwin filed for divorce.

“I thought he was innocent,” Goodwin said of Johnson. “I married him because at the time I loved him.”

If the jury finds Johnson guilty of first-degree murder, he could be sentenced to life in prison.

To reach Gary Salazar call 871-4205

or e-mail gsalazar@steamboatpilot.com


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