Rogersville mail carrier bound over on attempted murder charge

Jeff Bobo • Aug 4, 2008 at 12:00 AM

ROGERSVILLE — A detective testified Monday that Rogersville mail carrier Tracy Michelle Johnson, 37, accused of shooting her sleeping husband in the face in June, was wearing rubber gloves at the time of the shooting and apparently put a pillow over his face when she fired the shot.

Still, the victim, Norman Johnson, 434 Oak Grove Road, Rogersville, told Hawkins County Sessions Judge David Brand following Monday’s preliminary hearing he feels no animosity toward his wife over the incident and asked that a no-contact order between the two be lifted.

Brand approved the request, although he stipulated that Tracy Johnson’s mother be present when they’re together.

The attempted first-degree murder charge against Tracy Johnson was bound over to the Hawkins County grand jury Monday following the testimony of Norman Johnson and two Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office deputies.

The shooting took place on June 16 shortly before 2 a.m.

Norman Johnson testified that the evening of June 15 he and his wife had gone out to eat and had gone shopping, and that they hadn’t argued. He testified that he and his wife never argued.

Norman Johnson told the court he’d had a few beers at dinner and a few beers and a couple of shots of Jack Daniel’s at home, but that wasn’t out of the ordinary, and his wife didn’t disapprove.

Norman Johnson said his wife wasn’t under the influence of alcohol or drugs when she went to bed around 10:30 p.m., and she was sleeping when he came to bed around midnight.

Norman Johnson said he was awakened by the pain in his face but didn’t realize until later that he’d been shot.

He said he went to the bathroom and put a towel on his face, and then went to the living room and then the bedroom looking for his wife.

“At that time she came through the door, the other door that I’d just come through, and she was about 24 feet away from me at the time,” he testified. “At that point I asked her what she was doing. She had her hands out and was just shaking. She kept saying ‘I don’t know. I don’t know.’ I approached her. I got from here to the microphone from her (about three feet). She moved her hands real quick, and when she did I grabbed them. The gun went off. She then pulled away from me and went back in the living room.”

Although an initial HCSO report alleged that Tracy Johnson had raised the gun and pointed at her husband when the second shot was fired, Norman Johnson testified under cross-examination that she hadn’t pointed the gun at him or tried to shoot him when it discharged the second time.

Norman Johnson said his wife was wearing a button-up denim shirt backward and a pair of rubber gloves. He said he followed his wife into the living room, where he found her standing at the top of a stairway holding the handgun in both hands against her chest in a praying position.

That’s when he grabbed his phone, exited the residence from a side door, and called police.

Although his facial wound has healed, the bullet is still lodged in his neck behind his tonsil, Norman Johnson testified.

The couple had been married about two and a half years at the time of the shooting.

During cross-examination, defense attorney Rick Spivey’s questioning seemed geared toward establishing that there was no problem between the couple, there was no argument the previous night, and that the incident was “extremely unusual” and out of character.

In fact, Spivey told some court officers following the hearing that Norman and Tracy Johnson are now “getting back together.”

Tracy Johnson told police the day of the shooting she remembered nothing that had happened after she went to bed about 10:30 p.m. and didn’t remember the shooting.

During cross-examination, Norman Johnson agreed with Spivey’s observation that the incident was “highly unusual.” Norman Johnson also said he’s never known his wife to sleepwalk.

All three witnesses who testified at Monday’s hearing said Tracy Johnson appeared confused and disoriented after the shooting.

“She had a very blank look on her face — eyes glossed over,” Norman Johnson told the court.

Detective Jeff Greer testified that when he made contact with Tracy Johnson the morning of the shooting she was wearing rubber gloves. He said he also found a pillow near the bed with what appeared to be a bullet hole in it, and the pillow has been sent to the crime lab to determine if it contains gunshot residue.

A single spent shell was found in the bed.

The case is expected to go before the grand jury on Oct. 3.

Tracy Johnson has been a familiar face in the Hawkins County Courthouse and other government buildings. As a mail carrier she often delivered mail in downtown Rogersville.

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