Tailgate murder leads to conviction

Updated: August 19, 2005, 12:05 AM ET
Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. -- One of two brothers charged with killing two men tailgating outside a North Carolina State University football game last year was convicted of murder Thursday.

After three days of deliberations, jurors found Timothy Johnson, 23, guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Chicago insurance broker Kevin McCann and second-degree murder in the death of Marine 2nd Lt. Brett Harman.

Both victims were 23 when they were shot outside the university's home opener on Sept. 4.

Johnson's brother, Tony, had argued with the victims shortly before the shootings. Although prosecutors say Timothy Johnson pulled the trigger, Tony Johnson, 20 at the time of the deaths, is also charged with first-degree murder. He will be tried later.

Timothy Johnson, an NCSU student, told the court he unintentionally shot the two while trying to defend his brother.

Harman and McCann had fought with Tony Johnson after he drove erratically through a tailgating area outside the stadium.

"I know what I should have done," Timothy Johnson testified. "But it happened so fast. I couldn't let them hurt my brother."

After the verdict was read, Johnson's mother, Ann Johnson, sobbed with her head in her hands. "Tim, I love you," she said to her crying son as he was led out of the courtroom.

The penalty phase of the trial is scheduled to begin Friday.

Defense lawyers argued Timothy Johnson had consumed a dozen beers, at least seven shots of rum and smoked marijuana before the shootings and didn't know what he was doing.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press