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St. Landry Parish jury finds man guilty of murder in wife's death

Justice
Posted at 2:55 PM, Apr 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-20 15:55:06-04

A St. Landry Parish jury found a man guilty of murder Friday in the slaying of his wife.

Daniel E. Johnson was found guilty of second-degree murder in the 2017 shooting death of his wife, Lashanna Ward-Johnson.

Johnson initially told police that he thought his wife was an intruder when he shot her five times.

This case was the first jury trial held in St. Landry Parish post-covid, said District Attorney Chad Pitre. It was only recently that the state Supreme Court lifted the stay on all jury trials because of the pandemic, he noted.

Pitre said the case was even more difficult since recent court decisions now require a unanimous verdict from 12-member juries in these cases. He credited the Opelousas Police Department's investigation and his lead prosecutor on the case, Don Richard, for their work.

"My heart goes out to the family of this lady, who was a loving mother and daughter," Pitre said.