Mother’s Search for Answers in Son’s Death Leads to Federal Courtroom

By: KWTX Staff Email
By: KWTX Staff Email

** UPDATE **

See attached document for "Order of Dismissal of Claims with Prejudice"

Robertson County EMS and PHI were dismissed of all allegations in the Johnson case back in April of 2011.

Almost four years after Hank Johnson, 27, was beaten so severely at a Hearne motel that he later died, his family appeared Monday in federal court in Waco. It's for the trial of a lawsuit that seeks to hold several people and entities responsible for the death.

No one ever has been charged in the death and Sandi Johnson has said she just wants to know who killed her son.

Johnson’s suit names a list of defendants including the city of Hearne, Robertson County Emergency Medical Services and several people Johnson alleges were responsible for her son’s murder, one of whom she identifies as the brother-in-law of Robertson County District Attorney John Paschall.

Hank Johnson was staying at the Executive Inn in Hearne as he worked at the nearby Oak Grove power plant when he was severely beaten in his room on July 10, 2008.

He died 11 days later without ever regaining consciousness.

Sandi Johnson’s lawsuit claims first responders from Robertson County Emergency Medical Services failed to get her son to a hospital in time to save his life and that a medical helicopter that was sent to transport the beaten man did not have proper resuscitation equipment on board to save his life.

The lawsuit also claims that even though a police detective identified three people as suspects, the three were never properly interrogated and alleges that Paschall questioned one of them, his brother-in-law, thus disqualifying himself from prosecuting the case should it ever go to trial.

In March 2010, after two years of hounding, authorities exhumed Johnson’s body in an attempt to gather DNA evidence that wasn’t collected during the original investigation.

The remains of the Pasadena native were taken to a medical examiner’s office in Galveston County where forensic evidence from beneath his fingernails was collected.

During a previous interview with KBTX-TV in Bryan, Paschall said the reason Johnson's body was exhumed was because Hearne police failed to collect forensic evidence at the crime scene.

He told the TV station that Hearne police also ignored his recommendation that Johnson’s body be sent to a medical examiner’s office in Dallas with which Paschall’s office had worked in other cases.

The District Attorney’s Office had identified people of interest in the case, but Paschall told KBTX that without physical evidence, no arrests could be made.

Jury deliberations are expected to begin Tuesday morning.

KBTX-TV Channel 3 4141 E. 29th Street Bryan, TX 77802 Phone: (979) 846-7777 Fax: (979) 846-1490 News Fax: (979) 846-1888
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