Laura Johnson walked out of court a free woman Wednesday, but Oakland County prosecutors put her on notice they were looking for experts who could help them build a new case
that she murdered her husband.
"That's what prosecutors always do," keeping the arrest threat alive, said Richard Krisciunas, a University of Detroit Mercy law professor and former high-ranking Wayne County prosecutor.
"And that's the thing that's wrong: leaving that cloud of suspicion over her,"
Oakland County Medical Examiner Dr. L.J. Dragovic said Tuesday that her husband died from an old, unhealed accident wound and other ills including morbid obesity -- he weighed 413 pounds -- heart and circulatory disease and diabetes.
With the nod of his head from his deathbed, Farmington Hills appellate lawyer Lloyd Johnson tried to tell police what happened to him.
Intubated and unable to talk, septic from a gaping wound at the base of his spine, he motioned to answer questions from the Farmington Hills Police and medical personnel last week at Botsford Hospital in Farmington Hills.
Yes, he nodded, he knew his wife, Laura Johnson, 46, was taking tissue samples from his body and storing them in the freezer
of their Farmington Hills home.
Yes, his wife had performed surgery on him with his consent
, tending to an old wound from a boating injury, he nodded.
Yes,the profuse bleeding that eventually soaked his bedding
at home was from that wound, he nodded.
Lloyd Johnson died Sept. 22. And those nods may not have been enough to convict Laura Johnson of unlawfully practicing medicine, let alone murder charges
, according to the Oakland County Prosecutor's Office.
According to court records, it was one of Lloyd Johnson's adult children who told investigators Johnson thought his wife was going to kill him, and that he wanted a divorce.
Botsford Hospital medical personnel also told investigators that Lloyd Johnson said his family thought his wife was trying to hurt him.
"(Patient) states that his wife does home wound care and it is an issue of conflict right now between family members," hospital personnel wrote. "The patient's father, mother, as well as son believe that the wife is trying to intentionally harm the patient by, they believe, giving him extra medication as well as performing unnecessary procedures to his sacral decubitus ulcer," hospital personnel wrote.
Oakland County Medical Examiner Dr. L.J Dragovic earlier this week declared Lloyd Johnson's death an accident, which spurred the Prosecutor's Office to dismiss the charges, Walton said.
"This is what's supposed to happen," Walton said. "When evidence was newly discovered, it was immediately relayed to the court."
If prosecutors do get medical experts to contradict Dragovic, it would set up a courtroom fight and sour a vital relationship, said Macomb County Medical Examiner Daniel Spitz.
"It would be a battle, and the new expert would have to show that somehow Dragovic missed something," Spitz said. "That could cause you problems as you go forward. You could get bad blood between two offices that will need each other in the future."
And there are still not enough answers for Lloyd Johnson's five adult children from another relationship, his son, Sean Johnson of Warren, said Wednesday after the hearing. The 25-year-old used his cell phone to snap pictures of the bloody stain on his father's bed, thinking he was going to use them to convince his father to get medical help from someone other than Laura Johnson.
Sean Johnson still hopes to see someone held responsible for his father's death.
"This has nothing to do with Laura," he said. "This has to do with what I saw at the house.
"I want to know the truth because the truth was very important to my dad."