Opening statements made in case of murdered pregnant woman

Published: Jun. 14, 2011 at 4:01 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 14, 2011 at 4:31 PM EDT
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Lucy Johnson, who was pregnant, was killed in July 2008 in Gastonia.
Lucy Johnson, who was pregnant, was killed in July 2008 in Gastonia.

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Opening statements began Tuesday morning in the trial of a man accused of raping and murdering his pregnant fiance before setting her house on fire.

The defense claimed another man who bought women's clothing and is the father of the victim's son, had motive to kill her.

Michael Mead is accused of killing 31-year-old Lucy Johnson on July 16, 2008 inside her home in Gaston County.

Johnson worked as a nurse and had a 7-year-old daughter and an 8-month-old son when she was killed.

During opening statements, prosecutor Robert Forbes said Johnson was raped and shot twice in the back of her head in her bedroom. Her house was then doused in gasoline before it was set on fire.

Forbes says Johnson was four months pregnant with Mead's child when the murder occurred. During an autopsy, Forbes said Mead's DNA was found inside her body.

He says Mead wanted her to have an abortion, but Johnson refused.

Forbes claims Mead showed up after the murder and asked neighbors if they heard gunshots before anyone knew Johnson had been shot.

Johnson's engagement ring was also stolen from the home.

Defense attorney Lisa Dubs pointed the finger at another man during opening statements.

Dubs claims that less than six hours before the murder, Johnson told her friend, "if anything happens to me, Jim Spelock did it."

Spelock is the father of Johnson's son who was 8 months old at the time of his mother's murder.

Spelock and Johnson were in a heated custody battle.

Dubs claims Johnson met Mead via the Internet in April 2008, and became pregnant by him within three weeks.

The couple quickly got engaged, but Johnson continued to have problems with Spelock who she claimed threatened her.

Dubs says Johnson learned about Spelock purchasing women's clothing through eBay and threatened to expose him, which angered him.

She also claims evidence will show that Spelock sent dozens of text messages to a woman the night of Johnson's murder, but the text messages stopped around the time investigators believed Johnson was killed.

Mead is charged with first-degree murder, first-degree arson, first-degree rape and robbery.

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