The trial of a Lily man charged in the 2016 murder of his twin brother will go ahead as scheduled Monday.
Antonio Johnson, who is accused of beating Anthony Johnson to death with a hammer in 2016, appeared in Laurel Circuit Court Thursday morning for his final pretrial hearing.
With no plea agreement and both sides ready to proceed, Judge Greg Lay ordered the trial date to remain.
“Eighteen months is about right,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Jackie Steele concerning the time since the indictment was returned in May 2016 and the murder case going to trial.
Steele added that delays in evidence testing and issues with Johnson’s health had caused the trial date to be postponed previously.
“They are typical delays,” Steele said of the testing delays.
Steele said the court has set out two days on the schedule for the trial, though he did not discount the possibility that it may be wrapped up in a single day.
Antonio Johnson was arrested on April 5, 2016, on one count of murder – domestic violence.
Police were initially called to the brothers’ residence on Robinson Creek Road in Lily after Antonio Johnson called 9-1-1 to report he had found Anthony lying dead in the bedroom floor.
“He said he thinks Anthony used a hammer to kill himself,” said Laurel County Sheriff’s Deputy Gilbert Acciardo, the department’s public affairs officer, of the 9-1-1 call.
Acciardo said an autopsy indicated that Anthony Johnson had suffered multiple blows to the top of his head from the flat end of a hammer.
Police recovered a hammer in the bedroom.
“It is fairly obvious that the hammer was the weapon,” Acciardo said previously explaining it was more of a utility hammer.
Under Kentucky law, Antonio Johnson is facing between 20 to 50 years or life in prison if convicted.
The case does not meet the legal requirements in Kentucky for the death penalty to be an option.
In order to seek the death penalty, Kentucky law requires aggravating circumstances such as: first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary, first-degree arson, first-degree rape, the killing of two or more victims, or the killing of a police officer or corrections officer in the line of duty.
Antonio Johnson is being held in the Laurel County Correctional Facility on a $500,000 cash bond.