Jury could not agree on kidnapping charge against Elizabeth Johnson, convicted of lesser charge

PHOENIX - It's been nearly three years since 8-month-old Gabriel Johnson disappeared and the verdict against his mother is in. A jury did not find her guilty of kidnapping. They couldn't agree on that charge. 

After nearly three years in jail, Elizabeth Johnson could be released with time served.

Johnson was found guilty of a lesser charge -- unlawful imprisonment. Jurors also found her guilty of custodial interference and conspiracy to commit custodial inference.

As the verdict was read in court, Johnson turned to her defense team and was seen mouthing, "Oh my God. I'm shocked."

"I think she was cautiously optimistic about the verdict," Marc Victor, her attorney, said Friday. "I think she was very happy. We weren't shocked. In terms of her release, I think it is going to be difficult for her. I mean, she's going to be exiting the jail and entering a world that is quite different than the world she left. It's going to take some time for her to adjust, no question."

Victor said Johnson is now probation-eligible.

"She could get granted probation and could get released with time served," he said.

During this trial, a phone recording between Johnson and her ex-boyfriend, Logan McQueary, was played. In that recording Johnson told McQueary she killed Gabriel. Johnson later told authorities she gave Gabriel to a couple she didn't know in Texas. She was never charged with murder. Victor doesn't think she will be.

"I think it would be unjust to bring that charge. There isn't substantial evidence that any harm was done," Victor said. "There was a child abuse charge in this case the day I got involved and we got that charge dismissed because there isn't even evidence of any kind of abuse here."

A hearing to discuss Johnson's release is set for November 1.

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