Sumner County drops second-degree murder case of Shelby Johnson surrounding the death of 7-month-old infant

Greg Williams
Wellington Daily News

WELLINGTON, Kansas - Sumner County Attorney Larry Marczynski II announced on Friday, June 4th, that his office is dropping the second-degree murder case of Shelby Johnson due to lack of sufficient evidence in death of seven-month-old infant.

In a written statement released by Marczynski, it states:

“After careful review of the posture and prosecution of the case thus far, and thorough consideration of all the reports and evidence available in this case, I have determined that the State of Kansas lacks the sufficient evidence necessary to prove the case against Ms. Johnson beyond a reasonable doubt. As such I have decided to dismiss the matter without prejudice pending further investigation.”

“This decision was not made lightly. Together with my chief deputy attorney, we carefully reviewed the file and the totality of the evidence. The prior County Attorney had filed an interlocutory appeal regarding the admissibility of evidence, and the Kansas Court of Appeals ruled against the State in State v. Johnson, Slip op. 122,243. This decision effectively suppressed evidence critical for the State to prove the case.”

The case will be submitted back to the Wellington Police Department and the Sumner County Sheriff's office for further investigation. Marczynski said the Office of the County Attorney will continue to work with the law enforcement agencies to find and pursue any additional investigatory leads in an effort to seek justice.

In 2018, it was determined by medical examiners that the seven-month-old suffered a "cruel beating or shaking." The autopsy revealed the baby had died from suffering contusions on both sides of her head, a hematoma of the lower jaw, two fractures of the skull, a dense epidermal hemorrhage and hemorrhages in both eyes.

Four days later, the seven-year-old would be taken off life support. She would have been 3-years-and-10-months-old. Johnson had been charged with two counts of felony murder, one count of second-degree murder, one count of child abuse and one count of aggravated endangering a child.