Closing arguments take place in Thomas Johnson trial

Rochester, NY (WROC)-  Closing arguments are underway in the Thomas Johnson III murder trial.  Johnson is accused of fatally shooting Rochester police officer Daryl Pierson on September 3rd during a foot chase on Hudson Avenue. 

Defense Attorney James Hinman offered his closing arguments first.  He isn’t disputing his client shot Officer Pierson, but he is disputing he intended to.  He asked the jury to consider whether Johnson was acting intentionally or recklessly.  He described Johnson as someone who didn’t want any police interaction that night. He was trying to leave the scene.  As he walked down Hudson Ave, “he didn’t take things into his own hands that night like he could have.”

There was also testimony about Johnson grabbing and reaching for his waistband.  That implies he was reaching for his gun.  Hinman explained he was pulling his pants up because they were baggy.

The jury will begin deliberating this afternoon. They are tasked with considering 6 counts against Johnson ranging from weapons charges, to assault, to aggravated murder.  They will be allowed to consider lesser charges if they don’t believe Johnson intended to fatally shoot officer Pierson.

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