Murder trial starts for man accused of killing girlfriend

Suspect Johnson Mud accused of slitting throat of victim

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Daily Times
  • Johnson Mud has been charged with an open count of murder in the first degree.
  • Dennison died after Mud allegedly cut her throat on Feb. 18, 2017.
  • The audio from the 911 phone call Mud made after the alleged incident was played in the court.
Johnson Mud

FARMINGTON — The attorney representing a San Juan County man accused of killing his girlfriend claimed during opening arguments of his client's trial today that the alleged crime wasn't premeditated and occurred during the heat of the moment.

The first day of a scheduled three-day jury trial for Johnson Mud started today in Aztec District Court in front of District Judge John Dean Jr.

Mud, 52, is accused of an open count of murder in the first degree for the death of Lee Acres resident Roselyn Dennison, 49, who died on Feb. 19, 2017, according to court documents.

Dennison died after Mud allegedly cut her throat on Feb. 18, 2017, at a residence on County Road 5486 east of Farmington, according to The Daily Times archives.

The opening arguments were made by Mud's attorney Christian Hatfield and assistant district attorney Mariah McKay of the San Juan County District Attorney's Office.

Hatfield told the jury that the prosecution will say the alleged incident was premeditated but that Mud committed the alleged act while he was in a "rage" after Mud came to believe Dennison was cheating on him.

Hatfield said alcohol played a role in the case, as both Mud and Dennison had been drinking earlier in the day.

But McKay told the jury that the evidence will show Mud intentionally and deliberately murdered Dennison.

Two of the witnesses who testified during the afternoon work for the San Juan County Communications Authority, including 911 operator Sondra Hawks, who took a phone call from Mud on the night of the alleged murder.

Mud allegedly called 911 around 10:26 p.m. on Feb. 18, 2017, and told Hawks he had cut Dennison's throat. The prosecution played the audio of the 911 call in the courtroom.

During the phone call, Hawks repeatedly asked Mud to try and control Dennison's bleeding, but he refused.

Logan McKinney, now an officer for the Bloomfield Police Department, was one of the deputies for the San Juan County Sheriff's Office who responded to the incident. He told the court Mud was not crying when he was taken into custody and did not appear remorseful.

Sgt. Jacob Sanchez of the Sheriff's Office described arriving at the scene and finding Dennison with a large laceration across her neck while lying on a bed in the bedroom.

Sanchez echoed McKinney's statement, stating Mud was stoic and not emotional when he was arrested.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at

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