Kimberle Brianna JohnsonBirth: December 25, 1992
Death: December 28, 2013
No obituary found.
Andrew J. Yawn - Dec. 13, 2017
Centennial Hill shooter pleads guilty, apologizes to victims' mothers
Four years after Kimberle Johnson, Timnarius Hamilton and local rapper Glenn “Doe B” Thomas were fatally wounded in a shootout at a Montgomery nightclub, Darius Thomas, one of three arrested after the shooting, pleaded guilty to three counts of murder.
The 29-year-old Thomas accepted a plea deal for the charges Tuesday, the second day of his trial, after originally being charged with capital murder, two alternate capital murder charges and several assault charges for those who were shot but survived the Dec. 28, 2013, shooting at Centennial Hill Bar and Grill.
In front of Circuit Court Judge Greg Griffin and the mothers of the three victims, Thomas listened to opening statements and one witness’ testimony before accepting the plea offer.
He then asked to apologize to the three mothers.
“He spoke to me first and had tears rolling down his face and wanted to apologize,” said Barbara Green, whose daughter Johnson who had just turned 21 years old the Christmas Day before the shooting. “The greatest part was just letting him know that I forgave him from the very first day that his happened. I had to have that for me to move on.”
Thomas then apologized to Torian Hamilton and Shirley Thomas, the mothers of Hamilton and Doe B, respectively.
"It was a big weight off of my shoulders and me being able to forgive him," Thomas said.
Afterward the mothers asked if they could hug the man who had accepted responsibility for the deaths of their children.
“It takes a bigger person than I am to forgive someone for killing their child but I’ve seen it happen time and time again,” said Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey Wednesday.
Attempts to reach Hamilton were not successful. Green said that despite accepting Thomas’ apology, she still wanted him to serve the “maximum sentence.” A sentencing hearing for Thomas will be held in January. The two others arrested in connection to the shooting, Jason McWilliams and Taboris Mock, will also head to trial in 2018.
After four years of mourning and seeking closure, Green hopes McWilliams and Mock will also plead guilty.
“Both families are hurting, but we just want this to be over,” Green said.
In a phone call Wednesday, Thomas’ fiancee LaQuinta Stewart maintained that Thomas only accepted responsibility for starting the shootout by arguing with Doe B, a Montgomery rapper on the rise who signed to T.I.’s Grand Hustle Records label in 2012.
According to the January 2014 bond hearing testimony from Montgomery Police Department Detective Andy Magnus, the shooting escalated from a dispute between Thomas and Doe B as well as a separate dispute between McWilliams and Doe B involving a bag of money and jewelry.
“He didn’t accept the guilty plea saying he shot and killed those people, but he accepted the fact that him arguing with Doe B led to the shooting of those innocent people,” Stewart said. “The girl Kim and Tim, they were innocent. He pleaded out to give justice to those two innocent people’s parents. I do send my condolences to families that lost loved ones and to the victims who were shot and lived. It was a tragic situation.”
Thomas was also shot at Centennial Hill, the bullet going through his chest and out his side, she said.
Thomas has been in jail since he was arrested in Jan. 2014. Stewart, now 26, was four months pregnant at the time and now has five children with Thomas, two of them step-children.
“He’s got a child he’s never touched before,” Stewart said.
Still, she said she was proud of Thomas for accepting the plea.
“I don’t feel any type of way about him pleading guilty, because he could have died in that club that night,” Stewart said. “I thank the Lord for keeping him here for us. I’m just glad everything is over with, and I do thank the families for accepting his apology. They didn’t have to. But it took a lot for him to do that.”
Jennifer Horton - Dec. 14, 2017
2013 Montgomery murder victim's mom forgives killer in court
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Families of the murder victims in the 2013 Centennial Hill Bar and Grill shooting experienced justice this week for the first time in nearly four years.
Barbara Green has mourned the loss of her daughter, Kimberle Johnson, every waking moment since she was killed in December 2013, days after her 21st birthday. Tuesday, she felt the early stages of closure as Darius Thomas, the first of three defendants went to trial.
“I prayed he would take a plea”, Green said of Thomas. “A plea was presented to him last week at the pretrial hearing, and he didn't take it.”
Green said she made constant eye contact with Thomas during the trial proceedings. Thomas was indicted on capital murder for two people, for her daughter's death and the death of Glenn Thomas – also known as local rapper Doe B, reckless murder for the death of Timnarious Hamilton, two counts of murder, and three counts of first-degree assault.
“He always looked at me. He knew Kim was an innocent bystander,” Green said of Thomas.
After the jury was seated and the first witness left the stand, Thomas had a change of heart and pleaded guilty to three counts of murder. He asked to speak to the victims' families.
“Tears began to roll down his face,” Green remembered. “He said he was sorry that he took my child and for what he had done.”
At that, the grieving mother shared what she'd been waiting nearly four years to say.
“I told him I forgave him and I had forgiven him since day one,” Green said. “I have to have peace. I have to have serenity in my soul and my spirit to move on with life.”
Green said she never wanted to do harm or hurt any of the defendants. On Tuesday she felt compassion.
“All I wanted to do was to grab him and hold him,” she said.
Christmas Day would have been Kim's 25th birthday. This week after the plea Green felt she was able to put up her tree and decorate for Christmas.
“I wake up thinking of Kim. I think of her all day and I think of her as I go to sleep,” the mom said. “This year on Christmas we will go out to the cemetery and put happy birthday balloons on her headstone and celebrate her birthday.”
Green credits her faith in God for the strength to go on, describing the loss of her daughter as a spiritual journey.
“Prior to Kim passing, my prayer was ‘God I give her back to you,’” Green explained. “I don't know why I said that because she was living, and ten days later she was gone. Kim is in a better place. She was my only child and she meant everything in this world to me outside my relationship with Christ.”
Thomas will be sentenced in January. The trials for Jason McWilliams and Taboris Mock haven’t been rescheduled.