CONVICTED: Quaneesha Nicole Johnson
DEKALB COUNTY, GA—DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston today announced a conviction by jury trial in the murder case against a Lithonia woman accused of shooting and killing the father of one of her children while the children were inside her home.
Jurors returned guilty verdicts on Aug. 25 against Quaneesha Nicole Johnson, 30, on charges of Voluntary Manslaughter, two counts of Aggravated Assault—Family Violence, two counts of Cruelty to Children in the Third Degree, and Possession of a Firearm during the Commission of a Felony.
According to the investigation, Johnson called 911 on Nov. 27, 2022 to ask for a police escort to her home on Edenberry Lane in Lithonia.
The night before, Johnson had gone out clubbing with her friends and left her three children with Demonte Smith, 29, the father of Johnson’s youngest child. Smith expected Johnson to be home at 6 a.m. and when she did not return, he called her several times. Smith was worried because Johnson had called him earlier in the night and said she and her friends had been in a physical altercation with other people at the club.
Smith called some of Johnson’s family members, who also became worried because Johnson’s phone was off. They all called local hospitals and jails to try to l Defendant Johnson.
Around 9 a.m., Johnson turned her phone back on and saw text messages from Smith. She called her family members, who conference-called Smith into the conversation. Smith was angry and threatened to hit Johnson when she got home.
When Johnson returned to the house about two hours later, one of the DeKalb County police officers who responded instructed her to place her gun in her car. She told the officer there were no other weapons inside the home. Smith came outside where he and Johnson argued in front of the officers. The officers tried to resolve the disputebut reported that Johnson continued to talk over them and was combative with them, according to the investigation.
The officers sent Johnson and Smith inside the house to calm down. As she walked inside, Johnson asked the officers what would happen if she shot Smith “in self-defense” and told them that she had already looked up the self-defense law.
The officers remained on scene and planned to give the pair a few minutes to cool off before trying again to mediate.
Before that could happen, Johnson came back outside, grabbed a metal tire rod and her gun from her car and went back into the house. She directed one of her children to call 911 and say that Smith had hit.
Johnson hit Smith in the head with the tire rod and then shot him. The gunshot can be heard on the 911 recording, as well as Johnson repeatedly saying “bye” to Smith, investigators said.
Smith went outside to find the police officers and told them, “She hit me in the head with a metal thing and then shot me. Hurry before I die.”
Smith then collapsed.
Officers took Johnson into custody. In an interview at police headquarters, she admitted Smith had never actually hit her that day, investigators said.
Investigators later discovered Smith had requested a rideshare to leave the house, but was shot and killed just minutes before it was scheduled to arrive.
During a sentencing hearing on Monday, the State requested Johnson be sentenced to 25 years in prison and 5 on probation based on the brutal nature of the crime. DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Shondeana Morris sentenced Johnson to 10 years of confinement, split between 5 in prison and 5 more under house arrest with an additional 10 years on probation. Judge Morris also sentenced Johnson under the First Offender Act.
The State requested that the Defendant be taken into custody immediately upon being found guilty of killing Smith. Defendant Johnson, however, will not yet begin her sentence because the Judge granted her an appeal bond over the State’s objection. Judge Morris ordered Johnson to be placed on house arrest while her attorney appeals her conviction.
The case, assigned to the District Attorney’s Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Unit, was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Furhawn Shah with assistance from Senior ADA Jennifer Scacco, DA Investigator Shawna Barber, and Victim Advocate Britney Winley. DeKalb County Police Department Detective Michael Knight led the initial investigation.