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Man indicted for murder in 2013 beating death of roommate

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A 59-year-old Jackson man was indicted Monday after police investigators presented the case of the 2013 beating death of his 53-year-old roommate to the Madison County grand jury.

Clarence Edward Johnson was indicted on a charge of first-degree murder in the November 2013 beating death of John Wesley Williams, according to a Monday afternoon news release from the Jackson Police Department.

Johnson remains held on a $500,000 bond in the Madison County Jail and his arraignment is scheduled for May 5 in Madison County Circuit Court.

According to Tennessee Code Annotated 39-13-202 (a) (1), “first degree murder is a premeditated and intentional killing of another.” A person convicted of the offense could be sentenced to death, life in prison without the possibility of parole or life imprisonment.

According to an affidavit of complaint and Jackson police, around 7:06 p.m. on Nov. 22, Johnson called police and said he had Williams dead inside the house at 104 Second Street.

Investigators found Williams’ body laying face sown on a bed in the rear bedroom, the affidavit said. A comforter was covering his body, which had apparent, multiple injuries to the top of his head.

Police said they discovered that Johnson and Williams had been living together at the house, which had no utilities and was not livable condition.

The release said investigators and a county medical examiner were called to the scene and the medical examiner determined that the cause of death was from blunt force injuries.

During the investigation, a police sergeant spoke to another man who said he saw Johnson earlier in the evening. The man said he saw Johnson remove an item, which the man called a stick, from his coat and sit the item near a tree in a yard in the 200 block of Middle Avenue. The man also told the sergeant that Johnson said his roommate was dead.

The sergeant found the item, which was really a large crowbar, near the tree, just as the man had told him, the affidavit said. The crowbar had hair and blood on it.

The affidavit said Johnson told police he was alone in the house from 11 a.m. that morning until the body was found. He also said no other person had entered the house during that time period.

The release said the investigation shows that Johnson struck Williams in the head several times with a crowbar and then got rid of the crowbar.

After questioning Johnson, he was originally charged with first -degree murder and tampering with evidence, a Class C felony.
According to court computer records, Johnson has pleaded guilty to five misdemeanors since 1999.

On Nov. 18, 1999, Johnson pleaded guilty to domestic assault and resisting arrest.

On March 11, 2005, Johnson admitted to violating his probation and was ordered to have an alcohol and drug assessment.

On March 12, 2012, Johnson entered a guilty plea for possession of cocaine, possession of schedule IV controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

A violation of community corrections warrant was filed for Johnson on Aug. 19, 2012 and his probation was revoked on Sept. 24, 2010.

Johnson’s probation was again revoked on Dec. 27, 2012.

On July 2, 2013 Johnson’s petition for early release was filed and on July 15, Johnson, representing himself, appeared in court on his petition and the court granted his early release.

Johnson was charged in Williams’ murder a little over four months later.