Motion calls for Hosemann to add Johnston to lawsuit

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 17, 2002

[10/17/02]Gerald Hosemann must also sue the woman he was once accused of beating, a motion filed by two of the defendants in the judge’s civil lawsuit says.

Vicksburg attorney Kelly Loyacono and his wife, Kathryn, say in the motion that Loyacono was Juanita Johnston’s lawyer and any information he had about her injuries came from her. So, if Hosemann wins his case, Johnston is responsible for at least a share of the money damages he seeks, the motion says.

The development is one in a series since Hosemann, who is 50 and has been Warren County judge since 1986, filed the civil case in August alleging conspiracy and defamation. The case in Warren County Circuit Court was filed after Johnston, 48, recanted her statement that Hosemann had beaten her and left her on his rural Hinds County property two days before she was found on Dec. 6. She was hospitalized for about six weeks, and during that time Hosemann was arrested and charged with aggravated assault. He was later indicted by a Hinds County grand jury. The case ended before trial with his plea of no contest to disturbing the peace.

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Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Ed Pittman has appointed Judge William Coleman as special judge for the case, since both Warren County Circuit Court judges recused themselves.

Also, two of the other defendants, Hinds County deputies Pamela Turner and Eddie Robinson, have filed motions saying they can only be sued under the Mississippi Tort Claims Act and only in Hinds County. They ask to be severed from the case.

Attorney Travis T. Vance, accused of conspiring with the Loyaconos to accuse Hosemann, and The Vicksburg Post and its managing editor, Charlie Mitchell, accused of publishing false information, have filed answers denying Hosemann’s claims.

The Loyaconos also deny Hosemann’s accusation that they made false statements that led to the criminal case against him, but add that if statements they made were false, they were based on information provided by Johnston.

That being the case, they demand that Johnston, a former court reporter for Hosemann who has said she is in love with him, be added as an eighth defendant.

“If a jury were to find against one or both of the Loyaconos,” the motion says, “the Loyaconos are entitled to contribution from Ms. Johnston for whatever amounts the jury finds them liable.”

At the time of her injuries, Johnston was reported working in the Loyacono law office, and he represented her in two cases, one of them filed against Hosemann after her injuries. It did not accuse him of beating her, but did seek money she alleged Hosemann owed her and her personal property from the Hinds ranch. Over Loyacono’s objection, Johnston dropped the suit in March, the same month she said she didn’t know who caused her injuries, but was sure it was not Hosemann.

Hosemann’s suit, filed Aug. 12, asks for $2.7 million in actual and punitive damages.

There was no indication when Coleman might rule on the motions.