October 23, 2006
A Greene County man accused of murdering his estranged wife and her boyfriend three years ago was found guilty of capital murder. The judge said there was indisputable evidence.
Berman Justus tried to argue that he was insane when he shot his wife's boyfriend, Joe White, in his trailer and then later that night shot his wife, Amanda Justus, in her car along Route 33.
However, the judge found that there was too little evidence to support Justus' insanity plea. The officer on the scene testified that on the night of the murders Justus told police, "[Amanda Justus] was trying to kidnap my son, so I shot her. The gun is in the trunk."
Even though he has suffered from mental illness in the past, the judge believed this was a statement from someone who is aware of his actions, not someone who is having a religious delusion. Justus' attorney felt it was a hard case to defend.
"It was a tough case because we didn't have anybody who could say right at the time that he told me that God told him to do this. There were clues, there were hints, but nothing direct, nothing clear and that was a real hard burden for us to overcome," said Defense Attorney Lloyd Snook.
Now, the judge has to decide if Justus is a danger to society. If that is the case he could face the death penalty or life in prison.
Justus' sentencing is scheduled for January 23rd, 2007.
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