‘He just kept shooting and shooting’
Mother testifies against man accused of killing her son in January 2015
Acquinetta Johnson described watching as her son was gunned down by his friend who had spent the night in her home and shared meals with her family.
“He was standing on top of my son, shooting my son,” she testified Thursday. “He just kept shooting and shooting.”
Johnson was the first witness called to the stand in the trial of Charles Henson, who is charged with first-degree murder in the killing of her son, Davon Johnson, 28, in 2015.
Johnson testified that she did not immediately provide information to police because she feared retaliation against her and her granddaughter. She didn’t talk to neighbors about the shooting, either, be- cause “they all know each other,” she said.
Police say Henson fatally shot Johnson at the corner of Walbrook Avenue and Bentalou Street in the Mondawmin neighborhood on Jan. 28, 2015, then set fire to his home nearby on Feb. 22 to intimidate his family and any witnesses from talking to police.
As Baltimore police searched for Henson, they dubbed him “Public Enemy No. 1.”
Baltimore Circuit Judge Lawrence Fletcher-Hill instructed jurors Thursday that while the fire at Johnson’s home might come up in testimony, Henson was not on trial for arson.
Henson’s attorney, Richard Woods, urged jurors in opening statements to listen to testimony carefully and remain openminded.
“Pay attention to everything that happens in this courtroom,” he said, adding, “It has to be a moral certainty” to convict Henson.
Johnson testified that on the day her son was killed, she had asked him to pick up some gravy for a roast she was making. She said her son left their home with Henson, and that she heard two shots shortly after. She said she ran to her front porch, where she saw Henson facing her, standing over her son with a gun.
Johnson said she called out to Henson to stop, but he did not. She also heard her son call out for her.
Johnson said she ran back into her house and locked the door, out of fear for her safety. She then tried to call another son when she heard neighbors knocking on her door. She said she didn’t open her door until she heard an ambulance come down the street. She walked with a neighbor to where her son lay on the ground, with medical personnel trying to resuscitate him.
She said a neighbor drove her to the hospital, following the ambulance.
During cross-examination, Woods questioned why Johnson had not gone to police sooner. Johnson did not provide police her account until Feb. 11.
She told Woods she was concerned for her and her granddaughter’s safety, and said that she had wanted to bury her son first.
Woods also questioned how well she could witness the shooting from her porch, and where on the porch she was. He noted some statements in which she said she was standing at her door, and asked Johnson if she was changing her statement. “I was on my porch,” she told Woods. Woods also questioned why Johnson did not name Henson to any close relatives who came to visit her after her son’s death.
She said she told some family members that her son was shot by one of his friends, and that she didn’t give the name because they wouldn’t have known Henson.
Johnson testified that sometime after the shooting, she was driving outside Mondawmin Mall when she saw Henson in another car, and he made a motion toward her as if he had a gun.
After she gave her statement to homicide detectives, Johnson said, she was relocated to a hotel, and later another, and is now renting a home.
“He knew where I lived,” she said.