PHOENIX - The mother of Baby Gabriel unexpectedly left the courtroom Tuesday as the prosecution wrapped up its case against her.
After sitting in court all morning, Elizabeth Johnson returned after lunch and told the judge she did not want to be in court for the afternoon session.
“I really don’t feel like I can be here,” Johnson told Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Joseph Kreamer.
Johnson’s attorney, Marc Victor, explained that Johnson was anticipating the end of the trial would be very emotional because of audio recordings admitted into evidence.
Judge Kreamer said Johnson had the right to leave the court which she did before the jury returned from its lunch break.
Kreamer told jurors they could not consider or speculate about Johnson’s absence.
A short time later, prosecutors played phone calls between Johnson and Logan McQueary, Gabriel’s father.
McQueary recorded the phone calls in December of 2009 after he got a text message from Johnson saying she killed their son.
During one of the phone calls, Johnson blamed McQueary for making him kill their son.
Johnson told McQueary their dead son was in a dumpster.
Prosecutors also played a confrontational phone call the Tempe Police Department set up with Johnson’s help.
During the recording, Johnson called Tammi Smith, a Scottsdale woman who wanted to adopt Gabriel.
During the call Johnson and Smith fought over the phone about each others involvement in the disappearance of Gabriel.
The State ended its case Tuesday afternoon.
However, the jury will not return until October 16 because of scheduling issues.
Victor told the judge he would decide by October 15 if Johnson would take the stand in her own defense.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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