Mitchell Johnson Trial Wrap-Up


"He didn't do anything wrong since he's been out of jail," said neighbor Gloria Honeycutt of Fayetteville.

But on Tuesday a federal jury in Fayetteville shattered the thoughts of Johnson's friends with a verdict of guilty.  This came after two days of testimony from the prosecution and the defense witnesses.

"Mr. Shissler made the best arguments he had with the evidence that he had.  I felt confident all along that we had really presented twice as much evidence that was necessary to convict Mitchell Johnson on these charges," said Candace Taylor, Assistant U.S. Attorney - Western District.

Now, Johnson is a convicted felon on charges of being a user of or addicted to marijuana while in possession of a firearm, taking away his rights to own or handle a weapon.

"This can never make up for anything that's done in the past.  This is another starting point.  This is an adult felony, and it goes to make sure he can not possess another firearm in the future.  That's the most important thing, is that this man does not have firearms," said Taylor.

And Tuesday's conviction was warmly welcomed by those who remembered the Westside school shootings back in 1998, in which Johnson and friend Andrew Golden shot and killed four students and a teacher.

"Based on where I'm from and the fact that my family is from Jonesboro this case was especially important to me.  I think we always pay careful attention to every case that comes through the door, but specifically, I feel like this case was very important," said Clay Fowlkes, Assistant U.S. Attorney - Western District.

But those who knew Johnson from Fayetteville stood by his side arguing he's a changed man and no longer a boy.

"If they knew him like we know him.  He's a great guy.  He's a caring individual," said neighbor Robert McCoy.

However, Johnson's past is hard for many to forget, and now with a guilty verdict in, the U.S. Prosecutors office has this to say.

"We wanted the victims in the previous case to understand that we in law enforcement know who he is, we're taking that into account, and we're going to do everything we can to keep our community safe," said Bob Balfe, U.S. Attorney - Western District.

After the trial I met up with Johnson and his attorney Jack Shissler outside the courtroom and asked them if they wanted to make any comments on the outcome of the trial.  They denied my request.

Meanwhile, he is set to appear again in about two months for his sentencing hearing.  Johnson could face up to 10 years in prison.

Stay with Region 8 News for the latest developments.

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