A Florida jury recommended the death penalty for a Geneva man in the killing of
24-year-old Mia Chay Brown.
Assistant State’s Attorney Brandon Young said a jury returned a recommendation
of death Wednesday afternoon for 34-year-old Johnny Mack Sketo Calhoun.
“After hearing some testimony they came back with a recommendation of death
with a 9 to 3 vote,” Young said. “It has to be a majority for the
recommendation of death. The judge takes that recommendation and he ultimately
decides the sentence.”
Young said the jury returned a guilty verdict a day earlier against Calhoun for
1st-degree murder and kidnapping in connection to Brown’s death, which happened
in Holmes County, Fla., in December 2010. He said Calhoun won’t be sentenced
for at least 30 days. He faces the death penalty or life in prison without
Holmes County Sheriff’s investigators arrested Calhoun in December 2010.
Calhoun is from the Black community in Geneva County.
Young said the offenses started after Calhoun apparently asked Brown for a ride
to his girlfriend’s house, which he wanted after she got off work on Dec. 16,
“She showed up to give him a ride and at some point a violent confrontation
happened that led to him abducting her,” Young said. “We think it was basically
a crime of opportunity. We don’t know what happened in that trailer, but
whatever it was, it was violent.”
Young said authorities found a duct tape roll inside Calhoun’s trailer in
Holmes County with Brown’s blood and Calhoun’s DNA on it. Young said their
evidence showed Calhoun bound Brown with duct tape and wire, abducted her, put
her in the trunk of her own car and drove her to Alabama.
An employee of an Alabama convenience store testified, according to Young, that
Calhoun was seen in the store on the morning of Dec. 17, 2010, with injuries
prosecutors believed to be consistent with a fight.
Young said an Alabama medical examiner testified during the trial Brown died in
Geneva County after Calhoun intentionally set fire to her car while she was
still alive in the trunk. He’d apparently left the car a few hundred feet from
a campground on his brother-in-law’s property in Geneva County, Young said.
Young said Calhoun and Brown were acquaintances, and that she went to high
school with Calhoun’s girlfriend.
“We argued that certainly it was a premeditated murder, and that it also
happened as a result of arson and kidnapping,” Young said.
Young said the case was prosecuted in Florida because according to state law if
the offense started in Florida by law it can be prosecuted in Florida even if
the final or fatal blow of the offense happened in another state.
Young said the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, the Geneva County Sheriff’s
Office, officers with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural
Resources, and the Alabama Medical Examiner’s Office assisted in the murder
“As far as a true death penalty case out of Holmes County, it looks like the
last one was in 1959,” Young said. “It’s extremely rare. We have a very
peaceful community here in Holmes County.”
(source: Dothan Eagle)