Retrial Begins For Man Accused of Fatally Shooting Mother of His Child

Baltimore Courthouse

When Maryann Wellington walked into her apartment in the early morning hours of Feb. 15, 2019, that was the last time her family heard from her.

A prosecutor with the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office stood before a jury on Jan. 19 to present her opening statement in the trial of 36-year-old Arnold Johnson, who is accused of fatally shooting the mother of his child nearly four years ago. The defendant was previously found guilty of the murder in October 2019; however, the verdict was overturned in the Court of Special Appeals.

He is currently facing first-degree murder and three weapons charges.

Wellington, 29, came home to her apartment on the 4900 block of Goodnow Road early that February morning after attending an anti-Valentine’s Day party with friends. The prosecutor said that it was at this time that Johnson shot her in the face and then called 911, claiming he had returned home and found her lying unconscious in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor.

He called 911 “in an effort to put on a ruse,” said the assistant state’s attorney, describing how the defendant sounded frantic during the call.

Around 3:45 a.m., Baltimore Police responded to the scene where Johnson told them that he noticed that the front bedroom window was open and the front door was unlocked when he got home. Yet, there were no signs of forced entry, the prosecutor noted.

Johnson had taken everything into account, she continued, except for the fact that Wellington had been on the phone with a friend at the time of the alleged shooting—a phone call that the victim had been recording. Portions of this phone call would be played for the jury over the course of the trial, she said.

Defense attorney Gregory Fischer proclaimed his client to be innocent during his opening statement Thursday morning, saying that Johnson not only lost the mother of his son but was also being accused of a crime he did not commit.

“He could barely get the words out to describe the nightmare scene in front of him,” Fischer said regarding Johnson’s phone call to the police. And while the defendant was cooperative with detectives, he added, the lead detective conducted the investigation with “tunnel vision.”

“You are left to guess and left to speculate what happened,” the defense attorney told the jury.

He concluded that the quality of Wellington’s phone call recording was poor and that no forensic evidence, firearm, or blood was found connecting Johnson to the murder.

Testimony began mid-morning Thursday and is expected to continue on Jan. 20 before Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Patrick Stringer.

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