Execution of Memphis death row inmate Don Johnson leaves family divided

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Thursday night, the execution of Don Johnson should be complete. The 68-year-old Memphis man killed his wife Connie almost 35 years ago.

The execution of Don Johnson has pitted brother against sister, aunt against niece.

For more than three decades, Johnson has sat in a prison cell on death row. He was convicted of suffocating his wife with a plastic garbage bag and leaving her body in a van outside the Mall of Memphis.

Since then, Johnson says he found God and became an ordained minister of the Seventh Day Adventist church. His daughter, Cynthia Vaughn, says she has forgiven him for killing her mother.

Vaughn explains in a video on a website supporting the clemency of her father, what happened the first time she visited him in prison seven years ago.

“I looked at him and I told him I have to tell you something: I can’t keep hating you. It’s not doing anything to you, but it’s killing me, so I forgive you,” said Vaughn.

Vaughn’s brother is not as forgiving, calling his dad a con artist.

“He is doing anything he can to save his own neck. It’s not about faith. If it was about faith, he would go on and be executed and have his judgement with God, ‘cause that’s the only person who can judge him or forgive him,” said Jason Johnson, Johnson’s son.

Jason Johnson says the murder of his mother Connie and the pending execution of his father Don has ripped the family apart. He says he will be at his father’s execution, along with an aunt and two cousins. That side of the family does not believe Don Johnson has changed, and his son says they want him to die.

Don Johnson is sitting in a cell next to the execution chamber. He will remain there until the execution Thursday at 7:00 p.m. (READ DON JOHNSON’S LETTER ON EXECUTION HERE.)

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