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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robbery
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: October 6, 1978
Date of birth: March 5, 1955
Victim profile: Ed Thompson, 75 (security guard)
Method of murder: Shooting (.38 caliber revolver)
Location: Harris County, Texas, USA
Status: Executed by lethal injection in Texas on September 19, 1995


Date of Execution:
September 19, 1995
Carl Johnson #633
Last Statement:
I want the world to know that I’m innocent and that I’ve found peace. Let’s ride.

Carl Johnson

Age: 40 (23)
Executed: Sept. 19, 1995
Education level: 8th grade

On Oct. 6, 1978, Johnson and an accomplice entered a family-owned food store in northwest Houston to rob it. He said later that security guard Ed Thompson, 75, pulled his weapon and shot at him.

Johnson, who had no criminal convictions, returned fire five times but said he did not intend to kill the guard. His co-defendant testified against him in exchange for a reduced charge and was sentenced to 40 years in prison.


Carl Johnson, an eighth grade dropout who was physically and emotionally abused as a child and abandoned by his parents, turned to drugs and alcohol for answers which led to a life of crime that unfortunately ended his life.

On Oct. 6, 1978 Johnson and his “so-called” friend and accomplice, Carl Baltimore, decided to rob Wayne’s Food Mart in Houston.  Ed Thompson was the 75-year-old security guard on duty that night.  When the two came in armed, demanding money, Thompson pulled his gun and fired a shot.  Johnson then turned and pointed his .38 revolver toward Thompson and fired back five times. Later he claimed to doing this in self-defense.  Thompson died of fatal shots to the head, while the robbers got away with only some change.

Johnson was caught when he was arrested for another robbery after which, he confessed to the slaying of Thompson.  Baltimore had turned him in to receive a decreased punishment for himself.

Johnson was tried in 1979.  Johnson’s trial was an obstacle in itself.  “There had been a lot of technical legal problems throughout the trial because Johnson had bad lawyers,” David Dow, one of Johnson’s many attorneys, said.

Johnson’s lead counsel, Joe Cannon, slept through jury selection and half the trial.  His other court-appointed attorney was a recent law school graduate who wasn’t considered incompetent, just inexperienced, which didn’t help Johnson’s case. Additionally, the lawyers did not bring up issues that needed to be objected to or clarify specific circumstances of the case to the jury.  For example, the jury was uninformed about the possibility of rehabilitation with life in prison as opposed to the death penalty.

The only person who testified on the behalf of Johnson was Reverend Shelvy Brown.  “I didn’t know him outside of the church,” Brown said.  “I didn’t know how he was around others, he was always respectful towards me.”

Since Brown didn’t know Johnson outside of church the prosecutor objected to the testimony.  Johnson’s lawyers didn’t object, and as a result, the jury was told to disregard Brown’s testimony.

Johnson received the ultimate punishment, the death penalty. “I remember this guy and I remember the age of the victim,” Prosecutor Chris A. Lorenzen said.  “That old security guard couldn’t have harmed a fly.”

After the trial process, Johnson’s case was launched into what would be a seven-year appeals process.  “By the time I came in, the mistakes that had already been made were unchangeable, there was nothing that I could do,” Dow said.

Johnson became very involved in religion before he died.  In fact, he became a Muslim and sought out inner peace as his way of closure to deal with his death.

Johnson’s execution took place on Sept. 19, 1995 at 12:24 a.m.  He was only 40 years old.  His final statement was, “I want the world to know I am innocent.  I have found peace.  Let’s ride.  I’m ready.”  He was put to death by lethal injection.  It took only eight minutes for him to die.


Justice Denied

By David Dow -



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