Court upholds conviction for Pelham murder

Published 5:02 pm Tuesday, August 26, 2014

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

MONTGOMERY—Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange announced the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the murder conviction of James Darrell Johnson, 60, in an Aug. 22 decision.



Johnson was found guilty of killing construction foreman Sherlin M. Vaughn at the construction site of Aldi Food Mart in Pelham on July 29, 2008.

According to a news release from the Attorney General’s office, Johnson quit his job as a heavy machinery operator for a construction company on July 28, 2008. He returned to the construction site on July 29, 2008 “irate and claimed Vaughn, his foreman, owed him money per diem.” Vaughn was with clients “and was dismissive of Vaughn and his demands.”

According to court documents, Johnson then killed Vaughn “by picking him up over his head and slamming him to the ground three times” at the construction site near the intersection of U.S. 31 and Valleydale Road in Pelham

Vaughn suffered “at least 16 fractures” of his ribs, which lead the collapse of both lungs, an infection and “ultimately his death” around a month after the attack, the release stated.

Shelby County District Attorney Robert Owens’ office prosecuted the case. Johnson was found guilty on March 14, 2013 and sentenced to 45 years in prison on April 30, 2013.

The Attorney General’s Appeals Division handled the appeal. The court upheld the murder conviction of Johnson on Aug. 22.

“Attorney General Strange commended Assistant Attorney General Marc Starrett of the Attorney General’s Appeals Division for his successful work in this case,” the release stated.