Protection Offered As Murder Trial Takes Twist - NBC4: Columbus, Ohio News, Weather, and Sports (WCMH-TV)

Protection Offered As Murder Trial Takes Twist

By Donna Willis

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A murder-trial witness was gunned down last week. In response, the county offered protection to other witnesses as the trial took an unexpected twist.

Tyrell Davis was to be a witness for both the prosecution and the defense in the trial of accused murderer Shawan Johnson, NBC 4's Erin Tate reported.

Davis was gunned down Friday, April 25, on East Long Street and later died at the hospital.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien said Friday's murder is unrelated to the current trial.

While Davis' killer remained on the loose, Johnson sat before a jury and judge Monday.

Johnson is accused of shooting and killing Richard Willis and shooting a pregnant woman as she protected a child in November of 2005.

Johnson's trial began last week and resumed Monday, despite Davis' murder.

"The timing is such it caused us and police concern," O'Brien said about Davis' murder. "At the present time there is no connection."

The murder did have an impact on the case, though. Johnson was placed into isolation over the weekend. The defense expressed concern about a juror who said she had heard of Davis' death. The trial went on, regardless, and other witnesses were offered relocation and protective custody.

"We want witnesses to come forward, report what they see, provide statements and agree to testify," O'Brien said.

Witnesses likely will be relocated for the duration of the trial, Tate reported.

Stay tuned to NBC 4 and refresh for more information on this developing story.

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