FAYETTEVILLE, AR (KAIT) - Thursday's sentencing was one full of surprises.
Not only did Mitchell Johnson's ties to the Westside School shootings take the spotlight, but his own emotional breakdown in the courtroom signified another victory for the prosecution.
With his head hung low Mitchell Johnson exited the John Paul Hammerschmidt Federal Building in Fayetteville with only 4 more years of prison time to look forward to.
But this came after the U.S. attorneys and the defense went round and round about whether or not his participation in the 1998 shootings should be taken into account.
"We didn't look at today as a way of relitigating or repunishing him for his prior behavior, but it's part of who he is and the importance of his current criminal activity," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Candace Taylor.
As you may recall from this police video, Johnson was arrested on New Years Eve of 2006, where police found marijuana and firearms.
While, Johnson's juvenile conviction cleared his history and allowed him to carry a firearm, he was found guilty in January of 2008 for using a controlled substance while in possesion of a firearm, this a federal charge.
"He chose less than two years later to break the law, and commit offenses involving a handgun and marijuana. That was his choice," said Taylor.
And just before the sentence was handed down an emotional Johnson appologized for his actions in 1998 and said he was truly sorry for what he'd done and that he takes complete responsibility.
And those are the words that had long been awaited, but for many they will never heal the hurt.
Again Johnson will begin a four year sentence on charges of possession of a firearm while using a controlled substance.
Today's sentencing does not include two other charges of using a fraudulent credit card and possession of a controlled substance that came at a later time.
Those charges are still pending in Benton County.