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Late Newton judge to lie in state amid tributes from fellow judges, elected leaders
Friday afternoon event to feature limited seating for social distancing
Horace Johnson Jr. mug
Judge Horace J. Johnson Jr.

COVINGTON, Ga. — The body of Judge Horace Johnson will lie in state for public viewing following tributes from fellow judges and top city and county leaders Friday in Covington, organizers said.

The tribute to Johnson is scheduled from 2 to 3 p.m. at the newly renamed Judge Horace J. Johnson Jr. Judicial Center at 1132 Usher St. 

Superior Court Judge John Ott will lead the 2 p.m. event. Ott is chief judge of the Alcovy Judicial Circuit in which Johnson served as a Superior Court judge before his death July 1.

The schedule includes the Rev. Ralph L. Thompson Jr. of Columbia Drive United Methodist Church offering a prayer of comfort, followed by a poetic tribute from Evie M. Hightower and additional tributes from Alcovy Superior Court Judges Eugene Benton and Ken Wynne and Senior Judge Samuel Ozburn.

Newton County Chairman Marcello Banes and Covington Mayor Steve Horton will present proclamations for Johnson, according to a schedule provided by organizers.

Honor guards from the Newton and Walton counties’ sheriff’s offices and Covington Police Department are among those expected to take part in a processional as part of the service.

Caitlin Jett, spokeswoman for the Newton County Sheriff’s Office, said cameras will not be allowed in the program area. 

Attendees will be required to practice social distancing and wear masks so limited seating will be available during the tribute, she said. 

However, organizers are working to live-stream the tribute event and will have additional details soon, Jett said. 

A public viewing will follow the tribute from 3 to 6 p.m.