Man accused of shooting teens gets new court date
A new court date was set Thursday for a man accused of shooting two teens at a vacant house in a case involving claims that a defense lawyer was threatened.
The defendant, Christopher Taylor Johnson, is charged with attempted murder. His new hearing is set for Sept. 2 in Durham County Superior Court.
Johnson's supporters have insisted that police arrested the wrong man.
One supporter, community activist Victoria Peterson, was involved in a tense exchange with Judge Howard Manning during a March hearing in the case. Peterson tried to express her opinions about the case from the courtroom gallery when Manning cut her off.
At that hearing, Assistant District Attorney Stormy Ellis said Peterson and others had interfered in the case. Peterson denied that.
Johnson's attorney at the time, Lisa Williams, told the judge in March that his supporters had threatened and investigated her and interfered in the case. She withdrew from the case, and was replaced by attorney Sean Ramkaransingh.
Also at the March hearing, Johnson's bond was cut from $1.5 million to $5,000. Johnson was released after posting bond in March.
Chief Assistant District Attorney Roger Echols said the bond reduction was the result of an agreement between his office and the defense but declined to elaborate.
Also charged in the shootings is Thomas Deangelo Griffin, 20, who remains in the Durham County Jail under $1 million bond. His case is expected to be heard at Johnson's Sept. 2 hearing.
Police arrested Johnson, 25, in December and charged him in the shooting of two boys, ages 14 and 16, at a vacant house on Grace Lane, off Liberty Street in East Durham. The boys were seriously injured, but recovered.