Judge Sets October Trial Date for Westside Shooter

BENTONVILLE, AR - A circuit judge today set an October trial date for a Jonesboro school shooter on unrelated theft and drug counts.

Circuit Judge Tom Keith had earlier canceled a June 24 trial date for Mitchell Johnson, who faces felony theft and identity fraud charges, along with drug possession.  Police say Johnson took a debit card left my a disabled man at a gas station where Johnson worked.  Keith set the new trial date for October 7 at 8:30 a.m.

Last month Keith approved a defense request for a mental evaluation for Johnson.

In 1998, Johnson, then 13, and Andrew Golden, then 11, were arrested in the shooting deaths of four schoolmates and a teacher at Westside Middle School.  They were found guilty in juvenile court, detained until they turned 18, then transferred to federal custody.  Federal authorities released the two when they turned 21.

In January, a federal jury convicted Johnson of owning a gun while being a user of or addicted to a controlled substance.  He was released on bond while awaiting sentencing when he was arrested again on the Benton County charges and returned to jail.

Bentonville police say the debit card Johnson allegedly stole was used to make several purchases, including at the gas station and at a Burger King restaurant.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)