COVINGTON — One hour was all it took Friday for a jury to find 60-year-old Rodney Carter Clark guilty of the November 2015 murder of Mario Demonte Johnson.
According to the Newton County District Attorney’s Office’s Facebook page, the state presented 17 witnesses and approximately 150 pieces of evidence over two days. The jury deliberated for just over one hour before returning a verdict of guilty against Clark for malice murder, felony murder, armed robbery, aggravated assault, possession of cocaine, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Reactions from family and friends of Johnson on Facebook were appreciative:
“It will never fill the void left in a lot of people’s hearts! But justice is served! God is awesome!”
“Amen. Thank you Jesus. Justice for the family. RIP Mario good guy.”
“What a mighty God we serve. He did just what he said he would, he fought your battle and justice was served.”
Johnson, 29, was found dead in the yard of a home on Heritage Way in western Newton County shortly after midnight on Nov. 15, 2015 by a relative who said he had gone to check on Johnson when he had not heard from him. Newton County Sheriff’s Investigator Jeff Alexander said there were no reports of gunshots in the area, but that evidence pointed to the shooting happening on Heritage Way.
That evidence led investigators to Clark’s Geiger Street residence the next day, and he was arrested after they discovered evidence at his home to link him to the murder.
The case was prosecuted by Chief Assistant District Attorney Randy McGinley, Assistant District Attorney Binford Bramblett, Investigator Josh Shumate, victim advocates Shay Payne and Asia Reese, and legal assistant Desiree Kozikowski.
Clark will be sentenced on Nov. 2.