Fifth Judicial Circuit Solicitor's Office Fifth Judicial Circuit Solicitor's Office Press Releases

Press Releases


Shane Johnson Found Guilty of Burning 7 Year-old Child and Sentenced to 20 Years

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

COLUMBIA, SC – Last month, the Honorable R. Knox McMahon sentenced Shane Johnson to twenty (20) years in prison for the 2015 incident in which he severely burned his girlfriend’s seven (7) year old child. 

On October 7, 2015, the minor victim was admitted to the Palmetto Health Richland Emergency room with what was initially believed to be 2nd degree burns over more than 40% of his body.  The victim’s mother, Kristen Campbell, and her live in boyfriend, Shane Johnson, told both the medical staff and responding police officers that Shane Johnson helped the child to take a shower by running his water and then left the child alone to take a shower. They then said that they heard a scream, and when they entered the bathroom and saw the burns, they immediately took the child to the hospital.  

However, medical personnel noted that the victim’s burns were not consistent with a mere shower burn occurring in the manner that Johnson and Campbell described.  Additionally, officers became suspicious because, according to couple’s timeline, they waited approximately two hours before taking the victim to the hospital.
Kristin Campbell told law enforcement that on this particular day she allowed Shane Johnson to assist her 7-year-old autistic child with taking a shower because she was too tired to do it herself. She then heard the child screaming and ran into the bathroom. The bathroom was full of steam and Johnson was standing there looking nervous.  Campbell said that she wanted to take the child to the hospital but she did not, because Johnson told her not to and that she was scared of him.

After the victim was taken out of the shower, Shane Johnson called his friend, Bruce Gibbs, for advice. When Mr. Gibbs arrived he noticed that the child was burned and told both Johnson and Campbell that the child needed to go to the doctor.  Eventually, Gibbs told them that he was going to call for help if they did not take the child to the hospital. After that, they wrapped the victim in a towel and Shane Johnson held the victim in the back of a van alongside Bruce Gibbs, while Kristin Campbell drove to the hospital.  On the way to the hospital they were stopped for speeding by police officer Keith Williamson.  They advised Officer Williamson that they were taking the child to the hospital and he followed them there.  Officer Williamson described the driver, Kristin Campbell, as being stressed.
The victim was immediately transported to the Augusta Burn Center due to the severity of his injuries.  The minor victim remained in the Augusta Burn Center for approximately one month and underwent numerous surgeries and skin grafts.  He spent nearly two weeks on a ventilator.  It was then determined that 26% of his body was covered in 3rd Degree burns and another 14% in 2nd Degree burns. 

On October 12, 2015, both Shane Johnson and Kristen Campbell were interviewed by law enforcement.  Both Johnson and Campbell gave conflicting statements about what happened and those statements were not corroborated by the medical evidence in the case. 

Shane Johnson and Kristin Campbell remained together for a period of time after the incident involving Campbell’s child, and she only went to visit the child one time in the hospital – the night he was admitted. Additionally, at some point prior to their arrests, both Johnson and Campbell had a cookout at Campbell’s home with members of Johnson’s family. 

On October 19, 2015, officers interviewed Shane Johnson and Kristen Campbell again.  This time, Campbell admitted to law enforcement that Shane Johnson was responsible for her child’s injuries.  Campbell further stated that upon seeing the burns, she wanted to take the child to the hospital, but Johnson would not let her, so she Googled 2nd Degree Burns and decided to treat the victim by placing the child in cold water.  Even though the injuries progressed and the child’s skin peeled off in the towel, Campbell admitted that she still failed to call 911 and waited too long to seek treatment. 

Kristin Campbell was arrested and charged with Unlawful Conduct/Neglect of a child for her role in this incident and Shane Johnson was arrested and charged with Infliction of Great Bodily Injuries to a Child.   During trial the jury found Shane Johnson guilty of Infliction of Great Bodily Injury to a Child and the Honorable Knox McMahon sentenced him to the maximum sentence of twenty (20) years.  Kristen Campbell, Johnson’s co-defendant, pled guilty as charged prior to Johnson’s trial and is awaiting sentencing.  Both Campbell and her minor child testified during last month’s trial.