MASON CITY, Iowa – New evidence may overturn the conviction of Jordan Johnson. He is serving a life sentence for murdering his mother, Rita Seely, in 2008.
Tuesday, Johnson appeared in a Cerro Gordo County courtroom to ask for post – conviction relief.
Johnson’s attorney says his client suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, and because of that cannot determine the difference between right and wrong.
And, because of new statements from a doctor who examined Johnson, he’s asking that his conviction be overturned.
The 29-year-old entered the courtroom greeting friends and family as he took his seat.
Johnson’s attorney, Jeffery Lipman is arguing that in a deposition from 2013, a doctor for the state of Iowa says that Johnson’s condition makes it as though he can’t appreciate what is right and wrong when not medicated. Its information that Lipman believes would have changed the outcome of the trial.
“Our argument to the court is that when Jordan Johnson is medicated he can semi-function but when he is not medicated he is completely delusional. He is in an altered state of reality and simply cannot function. He doesn’t know the difference between right and wrong,” says Lipman.
But the state says that during his trial, there was an abundance of evidence that can’t be overwhelmed by this new statement from a doctor.
“The evidence was so overwhelming at the trial court level of Mr. Johnson’s competency and sanity that it doesn’t matter what any medical doctor might tell you years later. It’s clear that the jury was right on relying on Mr. Johnson’s own statements,” says Assistant Attorney General, Robert Sand.
As part of state law, Jordan Johnson was given the opportunity to address the court. He did that, for nine minutes in a statement his attorney says provides a glimpse into his mental condition.
“Obviously I don’t understand what he was saying. I’m not sure anybody really understood. He was chanting, which is symptomatic of what he goes through,” adds Lipman.
After both sides gave their arguments, the court was dismissed. Johnson once again acknowledging those sitting in the courtroom.
“Thank you guys for coming, I appreciate it,” said Johnson.
Johnson’s attorney believes it will take 30 to 60 days for a ruling. There are a few different options; the court can determine relief, send the case back to district court, or affirm his conviction.
We’ll give any updates on what a judge rules in this case. We’ve been taking a closer look at cases like this, when an insanity defense is used in court.
We’ll go beyond the testimony in a special report Wednesday at 10.