Tuesday, November 07, 2000

Jury deliberations continue on insanity plea in shooting

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — A Warren County jury, after more than nine hours of deliberation Monday, did not reach a verdict in the aggravated murder trial of Jeffrey Bornhoeft and was sent to a hotel for the night.

        Common Pleas Judge P. Daniel Fedders sent the jury to begin deliberations around 11:45 a.m. Monday, the trial's sixth day. Jurors deliberated until 9 p.m. and will resume this morning.

        The jury is trying to decide whether Mr. Bornhoeft was sane when he killed his ex-wife's new husband — and whether he planned the crime or just snapped after months of emotional problems.

        Mr. Bornhoeft, 31, of Mason, is accused in the April 7 shooting death of Jamey Johnson, 23. If convicted as charged, Mr. Bornhoeft could get the death penalty.

        Mr. Johnson, who had been married for five weeks to Mr. Bornhoeft's ex-wife, Shawn Johnson, was apparently asleep in his Georgetown Drive apartment when he was shot with a .357 Magnum revolver pressed against the back of his head, investigators have said. Mr. Bornhoeft then held police at bay for three hours while standing with a gun under his chin outside the apart ment building.

        If convicted of intentionally killing Mr. Johnson after burglarizing the apartment, Mr. Bornhoeft could wind up on Death Row.

        A Warren County jury last recommended a death sentence in 1998; the county has sought the death penalty unsuccessfully in six other cases in the past 15 years.

        If the jury finds Mr. Bornhoeft not guilty by reason of insanity, he will go to a mental institution.

        Mr. Bornhoeft's lawyers argued that their client did not break into the apartment but entered through an unlocked door.


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