Posted on May 22, 2012 at 4:27 PM
Tuesday, May 22 at 4:41 PM
TEMPE, Ariz. -- It's the case that has captivated the nation -- the case of the missing Tempe baby, Gabriel Johnson.
The forgery and fraud trial of Tammi Smith, the Scottsdale woman who tried to adopt Gabriel, recently ended with Smith being convicted.
However, The story is far from over. Later this year the baby's mother, 25-year-old Elizabeth Johnson, goes on trial.
Johnson's attorney said his client insists she did not kill her baby and that she loved Gabriel.
Marc J. Victor also said that Maricopa County prosecutors are trying to punish Elizabeth Johnson for what they believe she did in Texas.
"I'm playing to win," said Victor as he sat behind the large desk in his East Valley office. "I don't play to lose. I don't play to put on a show."
That self-description from the feisty Boston native as Victor prepares to do battle on behalf of his latest high-profile client.
This is Victor's response to the fact that people think Johnson is crazy: "I know people think that. In a legal sense she was just found competent to stand trial so as a legal matter it's not an issue."
Johnson is slated to stand trial on charges of kidnapping and child abuse later this year.
Victor also talked about Smith's conviction in the case. "Tammi Smith did lots of things to get Elizabeth to do lots of things now. I say this not to put out there that Elizabeth Johnson did nothing wrong and takes no responsibility. That's not her position."
When asked if Johnson kidnapped or killed the baby Victor said, "That's a question for the jury. She told me repeatedly that she absolutely did not kill the baby."
Johnson did tell the baby's biological father, Logan McQueary ,that she did kill the baby in Texas and threw his body in a garbage can.
Victor noted that no charges have ever been filed in Texas and said that prosecutors in Arizona are trying to punish Johnson for what they think may have happened in Texas.
"If there was child abuse, it occurred in Texas. None of it occurred in Arizona. There's not even a allegation that any of it occurred in Arizona."
Because of the apparent jurisdictional issue, Victor has filed a motion to have the child abuse charges against Johnson dropped.