There was never any question that Robin Johnson fired the shots that killed Officer Francis, her attorneys admitted that in court. However, they said she never intended to kill him. Jurors disagreed.
Deborah Francis last saw her husband alive before he started his shift on July 2, 2008. She left court Wednesday night knowing a jury has convicted the woman who shot him to death at a Lakeview CTA bus stop that night.
"It's really hard for us to speculate what the jury was thinking. They had a week and a half of evidence, and they did ultimately find guilty on the most serious count, the first-degree murder as to Officer Francis," said Charise Valente, Asst. Cook County State's Attorney.
Jurors found Johnson, 50, guilty on three counts related to the murder of the 27-year veteran officer.
Johnson sat expressionless during closing arguments in her trial. Prosecutors said Francis responded to a call of a disturbance on a CTA bus near Belmont and Western, but they say he was unprepared for what he encountered.
Johnson shot him in the face with his own service revolver. Then she exchanged gunfire with other officers who responded moments later.
Jurors acquitted her of attempted murder charges of those officers. Defense attorneys described Johnson as distressed and confused. She reportedly has a history of mental illness.
"That was not presented as a defense. There was basically a choice for the jury of guilty or not guilty," said Valente.
Among those listening to the closing arguments in the packed courtroom were Francis' family, several members of Johnson's family and dozens of police officers.Johnson faces a sentence of natural life in prison without the opportunity for parole. She showed no emotion as the verdicts were read in court Wednesday night.