Not guilty plea in Johnston murder case |

Not guilty plea in Johnston murder case

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Heath Johnston pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and impaired mental condition, regarding his first-degree murder case, Tuesday morning.

The not guilty plea was entered by Public Defender Steve McCrohan.

Ninth Judicial District Court Judge Gail Nichols found probable cause to support the first-degree murder charge at a preliminary hearing on July 9.

District Attorney Martin Beeson had no objections to the plea, Tuesday.

Johnston, 20, is charged for allegedly killing his brother, Sam Johnston by shooting him in the back of the head with a shotgun in December 2008.

If convicted of first-degree murder, Johnston could face possible penalties of life in prison or the death penalty. Beeson said that he has not yet decided to seek the death penalty in the case. However, he has 60 days to decide.

Johnston is to undergo a mental evaluation and Nichols set an advisement hearing for Sept. 8.

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