Texas Execution Information Center

Execution Report: Kia Johnson

Kia Johnson
Kia Johnson
Executed on 11 June 2003

Kia Levoy Johnson, 38, was executed by lethal injection on 11 June 2003 in Huntsville, Texas for the robbery and murder of a convenience store clerk.

In the early morning hours of 29 October 1993, Johnson, then 28, entered a San Antonio convenience store. He quickly pulled a .32-caliber pistol from his waistband and shot the clerk, William Rains, 32, in the abdomen. Rains fell to the floor. Johnson then ordered Rains to get up and open the cash register, but Rains was unable to comply. He threw a key to Johnson, who then broke it in an attempt to open the cash register. Johnson then took the cash register, which contained $23, and fled the store. As he was running, the tape from the cash register was trailing behind him. When he stepped out of the door, he stepped on the tape and broke it off, leaving an imprint of his tennis shoe.

The robbery and shooting were captured on videotape by a security camera. The tape also showed Rains unsuccessfully struggling for the next 45 minutes to climb out from behind the counter. Finally, he bled to death. His body was discovered later that morning by another customer.

When the video was shown on local TV, several people called police to tell them the gunman was Johnson. Johnson was arrested that night. At his trial, three people identified him as the gunman on the videotape. Another women said that hours after the murder, Johnson shared a crack pipe with her and talked about selling a gun. Prosecutors also stated that some tennis shoes found in Johnson's closet at the time of his arrest matched the imprint left at the crime scene. Johnson claimed he was innocent.

Johnson had a lengthy criminal history. As a juvenile, he had seven arrests. In 1986, he was convicted of burglary and received a sentence of 10 years' probation. While on probation, he committed another burglary and received a 10-year prison sentence. He served 6 months in prison in 1990 before being paroled. In February 1992, he was returned to prison for a parole violation, but he was paroled again in November 1992. (At the time, early release was common in Texas due to strict prison population caps imposed by U.S. District Judge William Wayne Justice.)

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