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Johnson's Wife To Robert: 'You're A Coward'

October 26, 2011, 5:55 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Johnson's Wife To Robert: 'You're A Coward'
SIOUX FALLS, SD - She says there hasn't been one good day since her husband was brutally murdered during a failed prison escape six months ago.  Lynette Johnson, the wife of South Dakota Correctional Officer Ron Johnson, took the witness on Wednesday stand to face her husband's killer.

Eric Robert has admitted to killing Ron with a two-foot pipe while trying to break out of prison.

The most emotional point of the hearing came when Lynette confronted Robert during her hour-long testimony. She recounted all the good memories she had with her husband before calling Robert evil and telling Judge Brad Zell how her life has been a wreck for the last six months.

Lynette says she and her husband had everything in life, and they barely spent a day a part.

"Ron and I have been together for 34 years and out of that 34 years we only spent six nights apart," Lynette Johnson said.

Lynette recounted the dedication Ron had to not only his family but also his job.

"He wears his uniform proud and is respected by inmates and coworkers," Lynette said.

Lynette also talked about their 25th wedding anniversary when she received a card from her husband that read, "I hope there are 25 more years." Lynette says Robert took that dream away.

"We weren't done. We weren't done living," Lynette said.

Lynette says Robert not only effected their lives but has had an effect on numerous others. She ran a day care, but hasn't been able to watch children ever since the day her husband was murdered. She also says Robert's actions have been harmful to their six grandchildren. The only time Robert showed any sort of emotion is when Lynette was talking about her grandkids.

"I'd go and pick him up after school and he says, 'Bad man killed my Papa,' and it's like, 'Oh geez,' so you have to change the subject real fast," Lynette said.

Lynette finished her testimony addressing Robert himself and saying he couldn't have done anything without the help of friends in the prison and his metal pipe. That's when she looked at him and called him a coward.
"You're a coward. You're a coward," Lynette said.

Robert addressed Judge Brad Zell Wednesday afternoon and said he understands the pain he has caused the Johnson family. That's why he believes he deserves to be executed.

"This family deserves it. This family deserves you giving me the death penalty. It will not bring their father back, their husband, their loved one back, but it's a start. It's the right thing to do. I deserve to die," Robert said.

Judge Zell says he will take some time to consider all the evidence before he calls everyone back to hand down his sentence.

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