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Mother describes day of 3-year-old son's methadone overdose

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Jurors listened Tuesday as the recorded voice of Alana Johnson described the day her 3-year-old son fatally overdosed on her prescription methadone.



Johnson described her son’s ashy face, his bright red lips, his dilated eyes.

“I kept trying to get him to respond to me … I rubbed his face, I said, ‘Shane, Shane, it’s mama, talk to me,’” Johnson told Richmond County sheriff’s Investigator Tim Rzasa in a recorded interview last October.

That interview was replayed Tuesday during the second day of Johnson’s trial on charges of murder. On Oct. 10, 2010, Johnson arrived with her unresponsive son at Georgia Health Sciences University Hospital, where she was questioned about the circumstances of his death.

It wasn’t until Oct. 19 that she was arrested, when investigators said they found evidence of methadone in the child’s urine. Johnson was issued liquid methadone doses through Augusta Metro Treatment Center as a way to wean her off an addiction to painkillers.

Johnson did not testify Tuesday, but recorded interviews with Rzasa and Deputy Coroner Johnny McDonald were played for jurors to give a better picture of the circumstances of her son’s death.

Her narration was coupled with a virtual tour of the single-wide trailer on the 4600 block of Mike Padgett Highway where Shane, Johnson and her husband lived.

Johnson said she took her methadone dose in the morning, then cleaned out the bottle and left it in a zippered bag on the counter. Her second dose was never found by investigators.

Early in the afternoon, Shane threw up and Johnson put him in the shower to get clean. She said she thought it was a flu bug he had picked up at a neighbor’s birthday party, but he didn’t wake up after she put him to bed.

Part of the trial focuses on the time it took for Johnson to contact authorities after her son’s death. Johnson said she called for help immediately, but McDonald said that blood had pooled in the boy’s leg, indicating he had been laying there for awhile; testimony Tuesday also stated that the boy’s temperature was low when he arrived at the hospital.

Johnson’s husband, Jack Hurd, is a witness in the case and as such was supposed to be sequestered and out of hearing of the testimony. He was arrested Tuesday for contempt of court after bailiffs caught him listening to the recordings at the courtroom door. A motion by Johnson’s attorney for mistrial was denied, but Superior Court Judge James Blanchard said his testimony will be qualified for jurors.

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Willow Bailey
20605
Points
Willow Bailey 09/27/11 - 03:42 pm
1
0
Three year olds require

Three year olds require full attention. My heart breaks for both mother and baby. I am sure she never intended for her baby to find that medicine. I find more fault in that she delayed in getting the baby to the hospital. When mine was little, I felt the responsibility of caring for her and keeping her safe very vividly 24/7. If I were on the jury, I would be very interested in what kind of mother she had previously been and her relationship with the baby. What about the father, where was he when this accident took place? Grandparents of children on drugs must be diligent about overseeing the conditions their grandchildren are living in.

nanamorre01
1
Points
nanamorre01 09/27/11 - 03:56 pm
1
0
jail is the right place for

jail is the right place for her , her son is dead becouse she is on methadone, to get away from an addiction for painpills, so what was the childs like with that problems, as a grandmother i am fighting for my smallest little girl now due to methadone in system from mom at birth, thank god she doing good now but not in the care of mom and dad, a grandparnets have little rights anymore, unless taken before a judge

Willow Bailey
20605
Points
Willow Bailey 09/27/11 - 04:52 pm
1
0
Yes, Nanamorre01,

Yes, Nanamorre01, grandparents must fight to protect their own grandchildren. The good news is once in court, Judges seem to get it, while DFACS never will. Keep on fighting for the little ones, who cannot fight for themselves and spend as much time in prayer as possible for your own strength, wisdom, and knowledge as well as a heart change for the parents. May God bless and provide for you in ways that will truly amaze you.

shrimp for breakfast
5641
Points
shrimp for breakfast 09/28/11 - 05:04 am
1
0
Methadone is nasty stuff. I

Methadone is nasty stuff. I knew a person who was on it for two years. It took him about 7 weeks to withdraw cold turkey from it. He said he didn't sleep through the night for 6 months. Let me tell you folks they charge you for this very powerful drug and if you can't make a payment one day then you don't get your dose. It's nothing more than Federal Government legal drug pushers. They should do away with that drug. From what I've studied about it it will kill you faster than heroin. They prey on the addicts!

iLove
626
Points
iLove 09/28/11 - 10:50 am
1
0
"It's nothing more than
Unpublished

"It's nothing more than Federal Government legal drug pushers"

well stated!

jbl19584
1
Points
jbl19584 09/28/11 - 06:57 pm
1
0
I agree it should be taken

I agree it should be taken off the market. My husband was on it for pain. He became addicted and attemped suicide. He died and they brought him back. I thank God for that. I pray every day for other people not to get addicted.

stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 09/29/11 - 01:01 pm
1
0
My brother in-law was

My brother in-law was addicted to it for pain also, it is a bad drug that needs to be done away with......

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