Local I-Team: Pastor for Don Johnson, death row inmate from Memphis, speaks ahead of execution

Local I-Team

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – A Memphis minister on death row is scheduled to be executed in just over 24 hours. Don Johnson was convicted of killing his wife Connie in1985.

Since his conviction, Johnson says he found God, became an ordained minister, and even has a radio show on a Christian channel.

Despite pleas for clemency from Johnson, his daughter, and a long list of supporters, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee will not stop the execution.

Johnson’s pastor discussed why he thinks his life should be saved.

It’s believed Don Johnson is the only Seventh Day Adventist ordained minister in the world who lives in a prison.

“This gentleman has shown the fruit of redemption and I believe that he is a sterling example of what we would hope would happen with individuals who’ve had sordid pasts,’ said Furman Fordham, senior pastor, Riverside Nashville Seventh Day Adventist Church.

Fordham is talking about Don Johnson. He has spent years going to Riverbend Maximum Security Prison where Johnson is an inmate.

“It became apparent to us that Don was doing the kind of ministry on the inside that we would normally ordain people for,” He added, “he is functioning in that capacity, but the only difference is his zip code is behind those walls.”

“The influence he has among the other men in his unit. My understanding is it is not just the best-behaved unit in Riverbend, but in the state of Tennessee,” say Fordham.


Fordham recently visited Johnson in prison, where he says they talked about Johnson’s pending execution.

“He is encouraged. He is confident, and his faith is strong, and it is amazing to visit with someone who has a calendar date, a date and time for when they will be executed, ” said Fordham. “Praise the Lord he said he is sleeping well. He is not worried, and we are asking God to keep him in perfect peace.”

Fordham went on to say, “He doesn’t feel that his work is done, but if his work is done in God’s eyes, he is willing to respect and ready to respect whatever that decision is.”

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