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January trial date set in Brooks shooting death

After a failed previous attempt to place a 26-year-old man on trial for the murder of a Thomson businessman nearly a year ago, it appears that the state is now prepared to move forward.

Michael Samuel Johnson is expected to stand trial in January 2008 for the fatal shooting of Todd Brooks, 36, according to Toombs Judicial Circuit District Attorney Dennis C. Sanders. The exact date for the trial is set for Jan. 15, Mr. Sanders said.

The new trial date was set by McDuffie County Superior Court Chief Judge Roger W. Dunaway Jr., who is expected to be the trial judge.

Mr. Brooks was shot to death in November 2006 in the mobile home of Mr. Johnson, who was at the time residing off the Wrens Highway near Thomson.

The original trial date had to be postponed earlier this year, because crucial evidence in the case had not yet been analyzed by crime lab experts with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Since then, such evidence has been examined, Mr. Sanders said.

A backlog has existed for quite sometime within crime laboratories around the state, primarily because of a shortage in personnel, officials said.

Mr. Johnson, meanwhile, remains behind bars in the McDuffie County Law Enforcement Center in Thomson. He has been there since being taken into custody on the night of the shooting by deputies with the McDuffie County Sheriff's Department.

The fatal shooting occurred following an argument between the two men involving a teenage girl who was at the Johnson residence at the time, authorities said.

Web posted on Thursday, November 15, 2007

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