Elizabeth Johnson's New Pen-Pal: the Judge Handling Her Kidnapping Case

Admittedly against the better advice of her attorneys, Elizabeth Johnson, the mother of a Tempe baby who's been missing for over a year, wrote a handwritten, two-page letter to the judge handling her kidnapping case apparently just to ramble about how unfair the justice system is, how much she hates her mugshot, and how she's being "fried" in the media.

Johnson's been charged with kidnapping in the disappearance of her then-1-year-old son, Gabriel, who was last seen when Johnson claims to have given the baby to an unidentified couple she met at a park in San Antonio, Texas, in December of 2009. That was only after she told the baby's father that she'd killed the boy and put him in a dumpster.

In a letter she wrote to Judge Paul McMurdie, Johnson doesn't do a whole lot to help her case. 

"I'm against conformity and was never one who followed the rules," Johnson writes, "which is probably why I'm in the situation I find myself."

Last year, after assaulting an inmate while in custody at one of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's jails, Johnson's crusade "against conformity" got her on one of the sheriff's (ahem) special meal plans. Read about Johnson and "Joe's loaf" by clicking here.

Johnson goes on to introduce herself to McMurdie, saying "you don't know me and I don't know you. I've seen you a few times at court, and even once you looked at me!"

Then, in a bold move for someone who faces some lengthy prison time if convicted, Johnson tells McMurdie she could probably do a little better as far as judges go.

"I hear you are a somewhat 'fair' judge -- not the best, nor the worst...I worry I will not only not receive a fair trial or jury, but also a fair judge," she writes in the note.

Johnson continues by saying how being "on the other side" of the law gives her a new perspective on those accused of crimes, and how she plans to further go against the advice of her attorneys.

"Interviews -- to tell my side - defend myself -- which again, my lawyers will not allow but I'll probably do it anyway because I'm stubborn and believe in myself and my case. I am unconventional and will not change for the world," she writes.

Johnson's trial is scheduled to begin on May 9. KPHO has a copy of Johnson's letter to the judge posted on its website, which you can see by clicking here.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
James King
Contact: James King