Monday, November 2, 2009

Savannah Man Murders Wife

A 69-year-old Savannah man was charged with murder Saturday.
At 10 a.m., 66-year-old Mary Ellen Johnson was gravely injured by a gunshot at her home on 30 Ben Kell Road. The residence doubles as an established day care facility, with a sign in the front yard that reads "Legacy Childcare & Learning Center."

Johnson was rushed to Memorial University Medical Center in critical condition. Saturday afternoon, doctors declared her dead.

"We're so shocked. You never heard any kind of commotion or anything," Blake said. "They had a business with the children. Everybody looked up to them."

By the time police arrived Saturday morning, they said, Johnson's husband, 69-year-old Robert M. Johnson, had escaped. He was apprehended 2 miles away at a BP gas station near the intersection of White Bluff Road and Rendant Avenue.

A timeline pieced together by investigators suggested the couple of 40 years had been arguing off and on Saturday morning, when Robert Johnson allegedly grabbed a gun and fired at least one round at his wife, according to Savannah-Chatham police spokeswoman Veda Lamar Nichols.

He was charged with murder and booked into the Chatham County jail to await a court hearing this week.

Mary Ellen Johnson's death was the 25th homicide reported to metro police this year. The first homicide of the month also involved a married couple. On Oct. 12, 63-year-old Walter Marchel was found stabbed to death in Clearview Homes. Police arrested Marchel's wife, Judy Davis Marchel, as a suspect.

October was Domestic Violence Awareness month.

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