Punishment phase of convicted killer's trial begins

Anthony Johnson killed rap music business partner

A jury rejected the self-defense claim of Anthony Johnson, 23, during his trial in April and found him guilty of murder.

But the panel could not reach an agreement on punishment and a mistrial was declared in that phase of his trial.

Johnson shot Romuald Ngande, 21, to death on Nov. 15, 2011.

The men were partners in an upstart rap music production company.

Friends said that in the weeks preceding the murder, the pair argued often about money and the artistic direction of the company's music.

That, the men’s friend, Reggie “Smoke Boogie” Anderson, testified, is what was going on prior to the murder.

He said he saw Johnson advancing toward Ngande with an assault rifle in the hallway of an apartment the two shared.

He said it did not appear that Ngande was taking Johnson seriously.

“He like, took it serious, but not that he would shoot him or anything,” Anderson testified.

But suddenly, he said, he saw Johnson pull the trigger.

“Romy just kept saying, 'Why you got that gun pointed at me?'" Anderson said he heard Ngande say. “After he looked at me, he backed up and shot him.”

Ngande died from a single gunshot wound to the chest.

Prosecutors have indicated they will ask the jury for a life sentence.

The punishment range for murder is from five to 99 years to life in prison.

During his opening statement, Johnson’s lawyer asked the jury to consider the “low end” of the punishment range.

Testimony will continue on Wednesday in Judge Melisa Skinner’s 290th District Court.

For a list of recent stories Paul Venema has done, click here.

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