BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Defense Attorney Charles Salvagio says taking on Patrick Johnson as a client wasn't a rush decision.
"You think long and hard about taking a case like this. No question about it. I've talked to him. I heard what he had to say. I believe him. I believe he has a defense," Salvagio says.
Johnson is charged with killing Birmingham Police Officer Keary Hollis. Birmingham Police say around 10:15 p.m. Saturday night, Johnson shot Hollis outside the Bush Hill Quick Stop. Detectives found Hollis dead inside of his car.
Salvagio says Johnson didn't know Hollis and didn't know he was an officer and he believes the charge he face corroborates that.
"If there was any indication he was a police officer, then the Jefferson County District Attorney would have charged him with the shooting of a police officer which would have involved the death penalty," Salvagio said.
Instead, Johnson is charged with capital murder committed by shooting into an occupied vehicle, which does not carry the death penalty.
Salvagio says one reason he decided to represent Johnson is because he doesn't have a violent past.
In 2007, Patrick Johnson was charged with drug possession and carrying a pistol without a license. Salvagio says both those charges were dismissed and that Johnson did have a license to carry a gun Saturday night.
He says Johnson has been employed his entire adult life, is married, has raised three children and comes from a good home.
"He's the type of man anyone would want living next door to them, to be your friend. It doesn't make sense to me about what happened out there," Salvagio said.
Patrick Johnson is being held in the Jefferson County jail on no bond. He's being held in protective custody.