Testimony Begins In Raymond Johnson Trial

Monday, June 22nd 2009, 5:18 pm
By: News On 6

By Ashli Sims, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- The trial began on Monday for a man accused of setting a house on fire to cover up the murders of a Tulsa mother and her baby.  Raymond Johnson is facing the death penalty for two counts of first degree murder and first degree arson. The prosecution called eight witnesses on Monday.

Almost two years to the day after Brooke Whitaker and her baby girl, Kya, were killed, her boyfriend, Raymond Johnson, goes on trial for their murders.

06/15/2009  Related Story:  Jury Selection In Raymond Johnson Trial

"There's no word to describe him. It's not monster, it's not inhuman, there's not a word in the dictionary to describe him. He will have a special place in hell," said Angie, Brooke's aunt.

A smoke-filled inferno is what called emergency responders to Whitaker's house on a June morning in 2007.  Firefighters kicked in the front door to fight the fire and discovered Whitaker in a bedroom and baby, Kya, in the living room.

The firefighter who found the infant told the jury at first he thought he saw a doll face down.  But, he says when he turned her over; he realized it was a baby girl.

Prosecutors showed pictures of the burned infant to the jury and her face was unrecognizable.

A paramedic there that day says Brooke Whitaker had 3rd degree burns on nearly 100% of her body.  He says once they were able to restore her pulse, he noticed blood pooling and several large indentations on her head.   

Whitaker died at the hospital.

Tulsa Police arrested Raymond Johnson a short time later and they say he confessed to beating Whitaker with a hammer and then setting the house on fire with a gas can.

Johnson and Whitaker had a history of domestic violence.

Whitaker had filed a protective order against him saying he'd threatened to kill her 10 times.  Police say Johnson confessed to beating and killing Whitaker, but he never gave a reason why.

Prosecutors called eight witnesses on Monday.  And, they expect to call another 18.  The trial is expected to last all week.

If convicted, Raymond Johnson could be put to death.