Ogden murder trial witnesses describe alibi plan, ‘finish him’ comment
OGDEN — A Layton woman testified Friday that she agreed to provide an alibi for Theron Farmer as he was trying to elude police investigating a shooting death in west Ogden on Feb. 11, 2019.
Farmer, 25, of Ogden, is on trial in 2nd District Court on charges of aggravated murder and attempted aggravated murder in the death of 18-year-old Ben Lomond High School student Kamron Johnson and the critical injury of his brother, Eric Johnson.
The woman, who was 16 at the time, said she was Farmer’s friend and they dealt and consumed drugs together. On the morning of Feb. 11, she said Farmer contacted her. “He said something big was going to happen and that I needed to keep my eye on the news,” she said.
Farmer and Daniel Viegas-Gonzalez of Farmington are accused of going to Eric Johnson’s home on west Lake Street at about 2:45 p.m. The Johnsons were shot, and police said the alleged perpetrators stole items from the home.
The woman said Farmer called her several hours later. “He said, ‘You need to come and get me, I’m freaking out,'” she said. Prosecutor Jamie Swink asked her if Farmer told her why. She said he did not, but she added, “I put two and two together.”
She said she went to Del Taco in Layton and bought chicken tacos. “I was going to be his alibi,” she said. She and two other people drove to Ogden and picked up Farmer from his mother’s house on 28th Street. She took a picture of Farmer holding the bag of tacos.
Back at her place in Layton, he showed her an internet news report of the west Ogden shooting and his photo as a suspect, she testified. “He sounded like he was proud of it,” she said.
Another friend, now 21, testified that on the ride to Layton, Farmer talked about the robbery. “He said he and Eric had argued and he went to rob Eric and it didn’t go as planned,” she said.
Kamron Johnson was home sick from school and Viegas-Gonzalez checked the house for items to steal, the woman said Farmer told them. “Danny shot Kamron and I guess Eric was trying to get up and that’s when Danny ran in and shot Eric.” She said Farmer told Viegas-Gonzalez, “Finish him so there’s no witnesses,” and Viegas-Gonzalez said, “There’s no more bullets in the gun.”
Earlier Friday, a forensic pathologist testified that Kamron Johnson was shot in the head and chest and either wound would have been fatal.
Dr. Lily Marsden of the Utah Office of the Medical Examiner testified that she performed an autopsy on Johnson the day after the shooting. She said he was shot once in the head, the bullet perforating the skull and both hemispheres of the brain. The other shot penetrated his chest, passing through both lungs, one of his airways and his esophagus.
Marsden said she was unable to determine which bullet was fired first, but either wound was enough to kill Johnson. She said she retrieved a bullet from inside Johnson’s back. That round passed through the body, she said, adding that she found a bullet jacket lodged in a cap that Johnson was wearing when he was killed.
A different doctor testified about crippling injuries suffered by Eric Johnson, who was shot three times but survived.
Dr. Justin Mansfield, an internal medicine specialist who practices in Layton, said the elder Johnson suffered gunshot wounds in the chest, arm and thigh. Mansfield was Eric Johnson’s primary care doctor and saw him several times during his recovery.
The shot to the chest missed Eric Johnson’s heart by 2 to 3 millimeters, Mansfield said. The fact that the bullet “barely slipped past the heart is probably why this patient is alive today,” he said.
A different bullet hit Eric Johnson in the left arm. Mansfield said it struck the humerus, breaking it in two. During surgery, debris and bone shards were removed and the ragged edges of the two bone segments were sawed down. The surgeon then connected the bone with a rod and plates. The humerus was 14 inches long but afterward it was 12 inches. “Now he is living with a limb that is significantly shorter, one arm shorter than the other,” Mansfield said. “It’s a difficult transformation.”
The shot to Johnson’s thigh caused severe soft-tissue damage, Mansfield said. He spent months in a wheelchair, then a standing chair, then could walk short distances with balance assistance. By April 2020, he “could take short walks on his own,” Mansfield said.
Prosecutors called to the stand Ogden Police Department crime analyst Mandy Krueger, who testified she reviewed the contents of Farmer’s phone, including call logs, text messages, images and online searches. She said GPS data showed Farmer’s phone was in the west Ogden area at the time of the shooting.
The trial continues Monday and might last until late in the week, Judge Reuben Renstrom said.
Viegas-Gonzalez is being tried separately. His next pretrial hearing is on Nov. 16.