Elizabeth Johnson verdict

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- A big victory Thursday for the mother of missing baby Gabriel Johnson, as a Phoenix jury deadlocked on the kidnapping charge facing 26-year-old Elizabeth Johnson.

The jury did find Johnson guilty of the lesser crimes of conspiracy, custodial interference and unlawful imprisonment.

All of those crimes are parole eligible, which means that after spending nearly three years in a county jail awaiting trial, Johnson may be credited with time-served and walk out of jail a free woman after her sentencing hearing next month.

Thursday's verdict comes as another yet another bizarre plot twist in a story that has grabbed headlines all over the world.

In late 2009, Johnson's then 8-month-old son Gabriel vanished from a Texas hotel room after the young mom fled to the Lone Star State with the child.

At the time, Johnson was locked in a nasty custody fight with Gabriel's father, Logan McQueary.

In text messages and recorded phone calls from Texas, Johnson initially told McQueary that she "suffocated" their son and threw his body in a garbage can.

Johnson later told law officers that she gave the baby away to an unidentified couple in a Texas park.

Texas prosecutors have not filed any charges against Johnson, but Texas cops continue to investigate what some are convinced is a murder case.

Earlier this year, a Scottsdale woman named Tammi Smith, who was described as desperate to adopt Gabriel, was convicted for her role in the child's disappearance.