After much speculation and the arrest of his wife, Farmington Hills attorney Lloyd Johnson’s death has been ruled an accident. That’s according to the Oakland County Medical Examiner who said Johnson’s death was caused by trauma from an old boating accident along with other factors including morbid obesity and diabetes.
Medical Examiner Ljubisa Dragovic said 47-year old Johnson had an open wound on his lower back, the result of an oar piercing him there. He said Johnson weighed 413 pounds and had other health problems, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Dragovic said the autopsy “vindicated” Laura Johnson, who was released from the Oakland County Jail late Monday — hours after the funeral for her husband.
WWJ and Fox 2 Legal Analyst Charlie Langton said the report could be damaging to the prosecution’s case. “The medical examiner becomes probably the most important witness for the prosecution, and if the medical examiner is not going to support the prosecution, I don’t think there is a case here,” Langton said.
Langton said he’s surprised the prosecutor filed charges without a preliminary report from the medical examiner.
“On the big charges, on murder charges, you have to have support of the medical examiner, and you don’t have that in this case. Until we know all of the evidence, we have to keep an open mind. There is no question in my mind that the prosecutor does have some explaining to do,” Langton said.
Lloyd Johnson was pronounced dead at Botsford Hospital on Wednesday.
Prosecutors charged 46-year-old Laura Johnson with second-degree murder, manslaughter and practicing medicine without a license after police said they found scalpels, bloody bedding and what appeared to be refrigerated human tissue in the couple’s home in Farmington Hills, near Detroit.
She was released from jail on bail Monday hours after her husband’s funeral.
Her attorney John P. Williams told WWJ that the ruling proves what his client has been saying all along — that she didn’t murder her husband. Williams said his client said the charges have been hurtful and while she understands the public’s anger, that that anger is misdirected.
“His wife was providing wound care as she has been doing for two years,” Williams said. “He died from a disease process. She did not kill him. Period. The autopsy report vindicated her.”
Williams called the stories about the case “a media frenzy with little regard for the truth” in the case. Williams said Lloyd Johnson, a severe diabetic, had an open wound for two years, and that his wife had been shown by medical personnel how to clean it to prevent infection and change the dressing. That’s why there were medical supplies found in the home.
Prosecutor Jessica Cooper said there is insufficient evidence now to support the charges.
Could Laura Johnson bring a lawsuit?
“I’m sure she’s going to be talking to a civil attorney who will be looking into whethere or not there was some sort of unlawful charge brought against her — an unlawful detention, as you would put it,” said Farmington Hills Attorney Raymond Cassar.
Cassar said he doesn’t believe the case is over, however. Investigators will still look into human tissue found in the freezer and the poisoning of the family dog.
Lloyd Johnson had worked for well-known trial lawyer Geoffrey Fieger until embarking on his own in 2009.
(Copyright 2010 WWJ Radio. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)