Hearing in Florence death penalty case

David Johnson

Wednesday afternoon, 24 year old David Johnson of Florence will appear in general sessions court before Judge Thomas Russo.

Johnson is accused of killing 69 year old Willie Mae Hayes at her home on Liberty Street in Florence in August of 2008.

In October of 2009, 12th Circuit Solicitor Ed Clements served Johnson with notice that the state of South Carolina is seeking the death penalty against him for the killing.

The hearing will pertain to motions filed in this case. We expect to learn of any new developments or evidence in this investigation during the hearing. Officials are also expected to announce when Johnson will go to trial.

Investigators with the Florence Police Department say Johnson and three others broke into Hayes' home and killed her.

She was initially reported as missing, but investigators suspected a crime had been committed against her.

Days later, they found Hayes' body in a ditch on Malloy Street in Florence County.

Investigators say the motive was robbery.

Solicitor Clements has said all along this was a very brutal killing that warrants the death penalty if Johnson is convicted by a jury.