The last night of Kuston Johnson’s life ended with what was supposed to be a good time with friends. However, after a trial full of inconsistencies, his girlfriend of three years was convicted of his murder. She claims she killed him in self-defense. With a lack of accurate information online about what really occurred, it is difficult to say what truly happened during the remaining moments of Johnson’s life.
Kuston Johnson was only 36 years old when he died on the 10th of September, 2015, in his home in Bowling Green, Kentucky. He was stabbed by his girlfriend, Kaylee Whitehall. A disagreement had ensued between the couple during a get-together with friends, Brittany Jones and Dennis Melbourne. The argument became physical and ended in a crime that would stir up more questions than answers.
On that night in September, the two couples had returned to the home Johnson shared with Whitehall, 26, after purchasing alcohol at a liquor store. They were hanging out, drinking, and listening to music together when suddenly Whitehall and Johnson started arguing.
According to Jones and Melbourne, the couple began the dispute in the garage. Court testimony shows that the argument stemmed from Whitehall’s plans to leave the relationship and rent her own apartment. That’s when the witnesses say Johnson put Whitehall into a headlock. She was able to free herself from his grip, but the confrontation only escalated from there.
Whitehall began throwing objects at Johnson from around the house. Brittany Jones says she had tried to get in-between the couple and break up the fight. Jones also testified that she had asked Whitehall if she would like to come home with her on several occasions to which Whitehall did not accept the offer. She was more interested in taking the TV she shared with Johnson, claiming it was hers and he would break it if she left it there. As she was trying to retrieve the TV, Johnson cut the wires, and the fight resumed.
Eventually, Whitehall left the bedroom, but instead of escaping, she entered the kitchen, grabbed a knife, and returned to the bedroom to continue the altercation. In the next few moments, Johnson ended up in the bathroom and collapsed face down on the floor. His friends rushed to his side where Jones started chest compressions and Melbourne called 911. Unfortunately, they were unsuccessful at resuscitating him.
Whitehall’s defense claimed she was in fear for her life and took action to protect herself from the alleged domestic abuse she had been suffering. In a walkthrough with police on the morning following the murder, her story had many inconsistencies that contradicted the forensic evidence.
Recorded interviews conducted with Detective Wade Hughes show the many discrepancies in her version of events. He disputes her initial story claiming that she had stabbed Johnson in the kitchen, as her account did not match evidence from the crime scene or autopsy. Although there were two others present at the argument that night, neither of them had witnessed the actual killing.
Suspiciously, weeks before the night in question, Whitehall had posted a cryptic message on her social media. The post read, “Go back to sleep baby. I’m planning your funeral!!” Some speculate that she had premeditated thoughts of killing her boyfriend and her post is proof of this. Whitehall maintains that it was just a joke. The true motive behind the alleged threat remains a mystery.
During the trial, a motion was filed by defense attorney Dennie Hardin to dismiss the case on grounds that Whitehall was justified in using deadly force in this situation. Judge Steve Wilson ruled against the dismissal and the trial into Kuston Johnson’s death began.
Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Kim Geoghegan contends that Whitehall had opportunities to leave the scene and that she had made the conscientious decision to return to the confrontation. It was never a question as to whether Whitehall had done the crime, but whether it was done in self-defense or cold blood.
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