DA files to seek death penalty

Pretrial proceedings began Wednesday in the capital murder case for an Augusta man accused of killing a retired teacher and wounding her husband during a robbery.

Kelvin S. Johnson, 25, has been held without bond since his arrest the day after Martha Greene, 69, and her husband, Tilman "T. C." Greene, were attacked at their Plantation Road home on Aug. 26. He made his first appearance Wednesday afternoon in Richmond County Superior Court.

District Attorney Ashley Wright filed the formal notice of her intention to seek a death sentence if a jury convicts Mr. Johnson of Mrs. Greene's slaying. If a jury does convict Mr. Johnson, it will also have the sentencing options of life in prison with or without parole.

Judge J. David Roper has been assigned to preside over Mr. Johnson's trial. Mr. Johnson is represented by two attorneys with the Georgia Capital Defenders' office.

Mr. Johnson is charged with felony and malice murder, armed robbery, hijacking, aggravated assault, burglary and weapon violations.

According to reports in The Augusta Chronicle , Mr. Greene was working in his open garage about 7 p.m. when a man rode up to the house on a bicycle. After a short conversation, Mr. Greene was shot in the face and the assailant went into the Greenes' home where he encountered Mrs. Greene and shot her to death.

The man took a large-screen TV and Mr. Greene's 1997 Chevy pickup. Mr. Johnson was arrested the next morning.

The next court hearing is set for April 14, when Mr. Johnson will be formally arraigned. His attorneys asked for 45 days to file motions after they received discovery.

Ms. Wright said Wednesday that she has already prepared 700 pages of discovery. Further court hearings might be held on June 2 and Aug. 4.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.