Roommate of mom accused of dumping newborn says she was a great mom to her kids

In a Travis County courtroom Thursday morning, Althea Johnson appeared a lot happier compared to day one of her trial.

The mother of three is accused of leaving her newborn baby girl in a dumpster on the cold morning of Oct. 25.

The state rested Wednesday after showing a video of Johnson confessing to leaving the baby in the dumpster of her apartment complex and on Thursday the defense began their case. The first to testify was Gilbert Harris, Johnson's former roommate.

“She was a mom, she was a great mom,” said Harris.

He described waking up for work that October morning to find chaos.

“I walk out my front door and there is blood, forty cops outside, and then all of a sudden, I find out I'm a part of everything they got going on,” said Harris.

The defense showed Harris a photo of the baby seen in the dumpster. Harris became emotional, while recognizing that the child was wrapped in one of the blankets from their living room.

The defense claims that Johnson was in an abusive relationship and didn't know she was even pregnant. The second to testify was Jennifer Larose, her boss at the hotel where she worked, who called Johnson reliable.

Larose said Johnson would sometimes tell her about her alleged abusive boyfriend.

“I knew she didn't want to have anything to do with him,” said Johnson.

Larose says she noticed a change in Johnson's behavior two weeks before the incident.

“She was late, she didn't clean the way she should clean,” said Larose. "She usually smiles a lot, very talkative, but she was like, nothing was there."

Larose mentioned that in a conversation, Johnson said that she did not want any more children. The defense has one more witness they will hear from on Friday.

Thursday afternoon, the judge heard testimony that the defense tried to admit into the trial, but Judge Brad Urrutia denied it, saying it was prejudiced for the jury to hear it.