After double-murder conviction, state makes case that Tyrone Johnson deserves to die

Though little Ricky Willis died three years ago, he was brought to life before a jury Monday morning.

"I’m going to be on America’s Got Talent – my mom is going to record a video," he said in a 2018 YouTube video, recorded not long before his death.

Over the next few days, that jury will decide if Tyrone Johnson, convicted of murdering Ricky and his mother Stephanie, will face the death penalty for Ricky’s death.

"That’s your decision, and it must be unanimous," said the state’s attorney, Teresa Hall.

"You decided that Mr. Johnson will die in prison," said assistant public defender Jamie Kane. "Will he die a natural death? Or will he be executed?"

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Friday, Johnson was found guilty of shooting Stephanie and Ricky to death during an argument in October 2018 over what to watch on TV.  

Monday, the jury heard what life has been like for the victims since that day.

"The feeling of grief we feel is never-ending, every minute of every day," said Ricky’s aunt Denise.

"We will never see him grow up, never see who he would have become," offered his grandmother.

The defense showed mitigating factors that they say would call for a life sentence instead. One of those was the distress from his son’s suicide in 2017, along with PTSD from his time in the military.

"He went through some mental anguish in the Army," said Johnson’s father.

"He did not come out of the Army the same person?" asked Kane.

"Oh no," came the reply.

Tuesday, the state and defense will present further witness testimony before a jury makes a decision later in the week.