STONE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A Stone County man charged with murdering his mother admitted to reporters that he killed her. But that shocking admission pales in comparison to what he told authorities on the day he was arrested. We want to warn you, the details shared in court Wednesday - and detailed below in this article - are gruesome and will be upsetting to some readers.
At Wednesday's preliminary hearing, Captain Ray Boggs with the Stone County Sheriff's Department took the stand to talk about the day Sherry Johnson's body was discovered. June 6 he received a call from the victim's siblings asking that he make a welfare check on her.
When he arrived at the home, Boggs said he saw Terrell Johnson on the front porch. At first, Johnson said his mother was okay. But when they walked into Sherry Johnson's bedroom, Boggs said he saw blood everywhere. That's when Johnson admitted killing his mother, decapitated her, and then taking her body outside so the house wouldn't smell.
Johnson told Boggs he choked his mother until she passed out, then cut her head off using a butter knife, his teeth, and his bare hands. Boggs said officers found her body near a tree in the backyard and her head on the other side of the fence.
Boggs said Johnson told him it all started with an argument over credit cards. Boggs believes the murder happened between June 3 and June 6.
Although Terrell Johnson told reporters he was guilty as he was being walked into the courthouse, that's not a formal plea and not part of any official record. Right now, he's charged with first-degree murder and is being held without bond at Stone County Jail. A grand jury must still decide whether or not he'll be indicted.
Defense attorney Jim Davis said Wednesday's hearing is only the beginning and hinted at the possibility of establishing a mental instability case.
"He does have a substantial history, and ya'll heard the facts of this particular case," he said. "That's not a normal homicide. … We've got to wait until we get the records and probably have him properly evaluated. Then, we'll kind of know where we're headed."
Linda Virgil knew Sherry Johnson and came to the hearing to support the family.
"I mean, a young life gone from such a positive person that had such an impact on kids and our families and our community," she said. "We are praying for his family, praying for the community, praying for Hattiesburg High. And just hope that justice will be served."