Tuesday, May 24, 2005

A Jasper County jury sentenced Gary Black to death. The Joplin man does not want to give Jasper County jurors another chance.
Black, whose earlier conviction was tossed aside by the Missouri Supreme Court earlier this year, is asking for a change of venue for his second trial. The request was filed May 19 in Jasper County Circuit Court. The prosecution has also filed arguments against moving the case, according to court records.
In another motion, defense attorneys are asking for information on any agreements reached between the prosecution and its witnesses and for the criminal records of the man Black is charged with killing, Jason Johnson, who was an MSSC student and athlete, and all witnesses.
Black is being represented by attorney Susan McCarthy, despite his desire to be his own lawyer. That request has been refused twice by Judge Jon Dermott, according to court records.
The Supreme Court decision came after an earlier court decision that delayed Black's execution. After that, for a long period of time, no executions were held in the state, until just recently.
Black allegedly stabbed Jason Johnson to death in October 1998 in a racially-motivated crime.
According to testimony at his trial, Black's girlfriend said she thought Johnson made a pass at her in a convenience store. Black and his girlfriend were both white, while Johnson was black.
The case was reviewed in the Aug. 23, 2004, and May 7, 2005, Turner Report.

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