Man pleads guilty to murder minutes before trial starts

by: Tom Jones Updated:

JONESBORO, Ga. - Just minutes before his trial was about to start, Nehemiah Johnson, 29, plead guilty to malice murder in the January 2012 strangling of Rochelle Thomas, 30.

John said he knew the police had enough evidence to send him to jail after kidnapping his ex-girlfriend early last year.

According to his sister, he said if he was going to jail for 30 years he wanted to feel the thrill of killing someone.

Police said three hours before they arrested Johnson for the kidnapping he fulfilled his wish and murdered a mother of two who offered escort services online and came to his apartment.

Police said he used a cord to kill Thomas inside her apartment on Tara Boulevard, and then hid her body.

He also  plead guilty to the kidnapping his ex, Roshanna Smith.

Clayton County Superior Court Judge Albert Collier then sentenced Johnson to life with parole to run consecutive to 20 years on the kidnapping charge.

Before Johnson was sentenced, Thomas' mother was allowed to address the court about the impact the murder has had on her.

"I don't understand. When he killed her he killed me too," Beverly Thomas said, standing a few feet from Johnson in court.

Thomas told Johnson she can't understand why he murdered her child for the thrill of it.

"He said he wanted to do a thrill kill. He said since I'm going to prison I'm going to kill somebody," she said outside court.

Johnson's ex-girlfriend tearfully screamed at him to explain why he kidnapped her and killed a woman.

"And that's all I want to know is why? What did this lady do that was so wrong? What did I do that was so wrong?" Smith said passionately.

Johnson never answered; he looked bored.

The victim's mother said it will never be over for her.

"And I just want Mr. Johnson to know that in spite of what he did I forgive him with my whole heart," Thomas said.

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