Earnest Johnson indicted

Published 10:41 pm Friday, April 30, 2010

A Dallas County grand jury has indicted Earnest Johnson on a charge of capital murder for the December 30, 2009, shooting death of Delois Latham.

The indictment was handed down Thursday. Johnson is in the Dallas County Jail with no bond.

“He will be up for arraignment in circuit court in a couple of months,” said District Attorney Michael Jackson. “He is facing either life without parole or the death penalty.”

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Latham and her brother, Thomas Gale, were working for the Selma Police Department Drug Unit. They were supposed to make a controlled drug buy from a suspect on L.L. Anderson, according to authorities.

Records show Gale told investigators a man, believed to be Johnson, approached the vehicle in which he and his sister sat and asked about the suspect. Gale said he told the man the suspected had talked to his sister on the phone and said he had been stopped by police. The man left the car.

Later, according to a statement taken from Gale, the man believed to be Johnson came back to the car and shot Latham in the head and the right hand. Gale was wounded in the leg.

Gale told officers he drove off and took his sister to Vaughan Regional Medical Center, then went to police headquarters to meet with a couple of detectives, who went back to the hospital with him.

Court records show a video inside the car captured the shooting. Detectives identified Johnson from the video. Detectives put together a photographic line-up and showed it to Gale, who picked out Johnson as the suspect.

Latham was transfered to Baptist South Hospital in Montgomery, where she died Dec. 31 of her injuries.

Officers found Johnson at the Traveler’s Inn in Selma and arrested him. A search of the room revealed a .38 caliber handgun.

Detectives said at the time of Johnson’s arrest he talked to them and told detectives Latham had sold him some bad drugs and he had argued with her. Detectives reported Johnson told them he had shot into the car and shot Latham.