LITTLE ROCK, AR - Mitchell Johnson, who killed five people with another boy in a 1998 ambush in a Jonesboro school yard, will appear today in federal court as prosecutors try to send him back to prison.
Johnson faces a single charge, whether he had possession of a firearm while either using or being addicted to a controlled substance. It carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.
The case initially started as a misdemeanor, but state prosecutor Brian Lamb dropped the charge at the request of federal officials. Lamb said at the time that federal prosecutors believed "they can hang a felony" on Johnson.
Jack Schisler, Johnson's federal public defender, has described the charge as "very unusual."
The case comes after Washington County sheriff's deputies pulled over Johnson in a van on New Year's Day 2007 driven by friend Justin Trammell, who killed his father with a crossbow as a teen. Johnson told deputies they planned to move south of Los Angeles to Carlsbad, California. There, Johnson said, they had a two bedroom, two bath townhouse waiting for them, only ten minutes away from the Pacific Ocean.
Region 8 News Reporter Will Carter is covering the trial live in Fayetteville, and will blog updates on kait8.com as well as on-the-air throughout the week, beginning today.