FOX13

FOX13

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The families of an elderly couple engaged to be married on Easter Sunday have now been torn apart by allegations of murder.

On Wednesday, Horn Lake police arrested 65-year old Bernice Johnson after she was accused of gunning down her husband-to-be, James Watkins, Jr.

Johnson is now spending the holiday in custody on a $250,000 bond.

“What everybody got her portrayed as, that’s not my mama,” Lavadius Nichols said of his mother, Bernice Johnson, when interviewed by FOX13.

Johnson WatkinsThe news station spoke with Johnson’s family in the same home where police say their mother and grandmother gunned down her fiancé just days earlier.

“She was very excited about the wedding,” Tandrea Bates shared. “My mother’s a loving person, she loves her kids, she loves her grandkids, and she loves the people she’s around.”

Police say the couple had a fight inside the house and Johnson ended up shooting her fiancé dead, but the family believes this was a case of self-defense.

“My mother was in a fight for her life, so it was either him or her,” Nichols said. “I hate it went the way it went because it could’ve been nobody; two people could’ve walked away from it, but everything doesn’t go as planned.”

Instead of having a wedding, now the family is devastated and praying for the release of their matriarch. They also sent a message for the victim’s family.

“My grandma didn’t mean what she did,” Bates said. “Please, if you can’t forgive her, forgive her, because this wasn’t her. She didn’t do this intentionally.”

Johnson is due in court Tuesday to answer to her murder charges.

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