Saturday, December 4, 2010

Husband turns self in after stabbing

Published: Saturday, December 04, 2010, 5:30 AM

? Willie Young had pleaded with his sister to leave her husband, telling her to come live with him until she could get on her feet.

? Sherry Young Johnson, a 39-year-old mother of three, was reluctant to do so, but said she would consider it after the holidays.

? "I tried all I could," Young said Friday. "She told me after the first of the year, she would go."

? But instead of possibly ending in divorce, the Johnsons' marriage of almost two decades ended in murder, police said.

? Authorities say Anthony Dewayne Johnson stabbed his wife to death while she was in bed early Friday.

? He then showered, loaded the couple's three children in the car and dropped them at their grandparents' house before turning himself into police.

? Anthony Dewayne Johnson told authorities he and his wife had argued about his lack of employment.

? "It was ridiculous, unnecessary domestic violence," said Jefferson County sheriff's Chief Deputy Randy Christian. "I am so sorry for those children. They lost two parents and are going to need a lot of love and care."

? Anthony Dewayne Johnson, 41, walked into the Birmingham Police Department's headquarters on First Avenue North just after 2 a.m., told them he had killed his wife, and gave authorities his address in Pinson.

? Birmingham police notified Jefferson County sheriff's deputies, who went to the home on Stonebriar Trace, but could not get an answer at the door, Christian said.

? Fire and rescue workers forced entry, and found 39-year-old Sherry Young Johnson dead in her bed in the back bedroom, stabbed multiple times.

? Authorities later learned the husband had dropped the couple's three children -- a 12-year-old son and 9-year-old twin daughters -- off at his mother's house en route to the police station.

? He told the children their mother was sick, Christian said.

? Anthony Dewayne Johnson was being held without bond in the county jail on a charge of murder.

? Young said his sister was the "baby" of their family and raised in Pratt City. She had confided in him that she and her husband had been arguing, he said.

? He wasn't employed. She ran a successful hair salon on Lomb Avenue called Sherry's Unlimited Designs.

? "She worked hard, and she just loved people," her brother said. "She was an outgoing person, and so welcoming."

? "And she loved her kids," Young said, "very much."

? On Friday, more than a dozen co-workers and clients gathered outside of the west Birmingham salon, openly crying and hugging.

? "It hurts," said Tabitha Hough, a client and close friend of the victim for the past 15 years. "I feel like my sister is gone."

? Hough said she had spoken to Sherry Johnson on Thursday evening as they confirmed Hough's appointment for Friday.

? "I didn't think this is how Friday would end," Hough said.

? Hough said Sherry Johnson was funny, and a compassionate listener.

? "You know a hairdresser is like a therapist," she said with a smile.

? Hough said Sherry Johnson told her to keep coming in to have her hair done -- on the house -- during a time when Hough was having financial struggles amid marital troubles.

? "That says something about her," Hough said.

? Asked what he would like people to most remember about his sister, Young said, "She just had a caring heart."

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