Cops: Michael Johnson Talked about Alibi on Phone - WRBL

Cops: Michael Johnson Talked about Alibi on Phone

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COLUMBUS, Ga. -

A man charged with the killing of a Columbus pawn shop manager made his first appearance in court Friday morning.

Investigators allege Michael Jerome Johnson shot and killed Steven Toms inside Gold & Silver Trading Center in 2011. Johnson has been serving time in the Muscogee County jail on armed robbery charges. Authorities say phone calls made by Johnson from inside the jail were intercepted. During those calls, detectives say Johnson can be heard talking about the murders.

"And most importantly we do not know what the context of it was," Johnson's defense attorney Robert Wadkins, Jr. says regarding the calls. "So a lot of things can sound bad when they are taken out of context."

Authorities claim they have phone records indicating Johnson was in the area of the pawn shop that night. His Defense Attorney says Johnson is maintaining his innocence. Detectives say Johnson told them he was at a recording studio before returning to his mother's house the night of the murder. He was at the home when a friend named Solomon arrived. Johnson said Solomon talked about the murder. The two together then went to the Riverwalk, where a gun was  tossed into the river.

No gun - or the items stolen from the shop - have been recovered.

Gold & Silver owner Bob Upchurch says he has never forgotten the day he walked into his store and found his business partner's body.

"You can't put it out of your mind," he says. "You may not think of it every minute, but still it just never goes away, and that's why you at least need to put somebody behind bars and get some closure to it."

Johnson did not enter a plea in court Friday but was given a $100,000 bond for the possession of a firearm during a felony.

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