Prosecutor may seek death penalty in tax collector beating death


Tenth Judicial District Prosecutor Thomas Deen may seek the death penalty against the man charged in the May 3 beating death and robbery of Chicot County Tax Collector Nell Johnson.

“It’s definitely a possibility,” Deen said recently. “I’ll make a decision after I finish evaluating the case.”

Deen has charged John Thomas Brooks, 49, of Lake Village, with capital murder, aggravated residential burglary and aggravated robbery.

Capital murder is punishable by life in prison without the possibility of parole or the death penalty.

Johnson, who died of blunt force trauma to her head, was found in her home the afternoon of May 3 after the 73-year-old tax collector failed to show up for work.

Brooks, the father of Johnson’s granddaughter-in-law, was arrested by Chicot County Sheriff Ron Nichols and State Police on June 11.

The arrest warrant was based on DNA evidence obtained during the investigation, according Chicot County Sheriff Ron Nichols.

Brooks was being held without bond at the Ashley County Detention Center.