SAN ANTONIO, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- A defense attorney told a Texas jury the victim of a homicide had plotted his own death so his ex-girlfriend and son could cash in a life insurance policy.
Lawyer Cleophus Marshall told jurors in his opening statement Tuesday that Samuel Johnson was actually shot to death by his ex-girlfriend after defendant Bernard Brown backed out of the "cockamamie scheme."
"This was the craziest thing [Brown] had ever heard in his life, and he said, 'I will not be a part of it,'" Marshall said.
Johnson was found beaten and shot in a rural area outside the city in 2010. He had recently landed a job as a bus driver and was expecting a child with his new fiancee. Marshall contended Johnson had wanted to die in order to leave his ex-girlfriend, Vanessa Cameron, and their 1-year-old son the payout from a $750,000 life insurance policy.
Prosecutors countered Brown had indeed carried out the killing in a scheme hatched by Johnson's ex-girlfriend, Cameron, the daughter of a San Antonio police sergeant who was both jealous and determined to get her hands on the insurance money.
Marshall told the jury Cameron went ahead with the murder plot and schemed to make Brown the "fall guy."
Cameron's sister and Brown's cousin were also charged in the case but earlier accepted plea bargains in return for their testimony, the San Antonio Express-News said Wednesday. Cameron was convicted of murder last year but an appeals court last month granted her a new trial because her family had not been allowed to watch jury selection.