JANUARY 26, 2007 - Posted at 11:44 a.m. CST, updated at 2:59 p.m. CST
FAYETTEVILLE, AR - Mitchell Johnson, one of two former Westside Middle School students who opened fire on their schoolmates and teachers in a deadly shooting spree in the hills west of Jonesboro in 1998, pleaded not guilty to drug and weapons charges this morning in a district court in Fayetteville.
According to sources, neither Johnson nor his attorney actually appeared in court, but phoned in the plea to court officials.
The 22-year-old Johnson was arrested on New Year's Day in Fayetteville after a traffic stop allegedly yielded the discovery of a small amount of marijuana in his pocket. Police also found a loaded handgun inside Johnson's van.
Johnson was in the van with Justin Trammell, who was convicted as a juvenile in Benton County of killing his father with a crossbow. Trammell was cited for careless driving but not arrested. He has entered a not guilty plea to the traffic charge.
Separately, Trammel was charged with threatening to kill the mother of his 3-year-old son. He was jailed yesterday on a terroristic threatening charge and remains in the Benton County Jail.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
JANUARY 26, 2007 - Posted at 7:33 a.m. CST
FAYETTEVILLE, AR - Mitchell Johnson, one of two Westside Middle School students who opened fire on their schoolmates and teachers in a deadly shooting spree in March of 1998 in the hills just west of Jonesboro, is once again due in a courtroom again today, this time in northwest Arkansas.
The 22-year-old Johnson was arrested in Fayetteville on New Year's Day after a traffic stop yielded the discovery of a small amount of marijuana in his pocket. Police then searched Johnson's van and found a loaded 9-milimeter handgun. Johnson has since been released from the Washington County Jail on a $1,000 bond and faces misdemeanor charges of possession of a controlled substance and carrying a weapon. He is to be arraigned today.
Johnson and Andrew Golden killed four students and a teacher at Westside nearly nine years ago. The two were adjudicated guilty by a juvenile court judge, and Johnson was released from federal custody in 2005, when he turned 21. He now lives in Fayetteville.