Guilty pleas accepted here

Friday, January 4, 2013

By Karen Hall

Staff Writer

On the last Circuit Court day of the year, a Petersburg man pleaded guilty in two cases and received an effective sentence of six years.

Kevin Lee Johnson, 30, of Bert Watt Road, pleaded guilty to theft between $1,000 and $10,000. He broke in to R & R Automotive on March 18 and took two handguns and a Honda 300 four-wheeler worth $2,200. He was sentenced to six years for the theft, of which he must serve at least 35 percent before being eligible for a parole board hearing. Johnson is considered a multiple offender because he has prior felony convictions for forgery.

Johnson will serve this sentence at the same time as sentences in his other case, in which he pleaded guilty to charges of felony reckless endangerment, resisting arrest, and driving after being declared a habitual motor vehicle offender. These all arose from an incident on May 13, when Johnson was driving a car that looked like an unmarked police car on Fayetteville Highway. He attempted to make two other drivers stop by flashing a white light at them and trying to cut them off. One of the victims called 911 and remained on the phone with the dispatcher, as Johnson continued to try to make her stop. He did get a second motorist to stop on Belfast Hill, and was searching the trunk of the man's car when Marshall County Sheriff's Department deputies arrived on the scene. Johnson resisted being handcuffed and ran away. He was hit several times with a Taser, and sprayed with OC spray, before he could be restrained and transported to jail.

Represented by appointed attorney Debbie Zimmerle, Johnson asked Circuit Court Judge Robert Crigler for time to put his affairs in order before reporting to jail and the judge granted this, telling him to report at the next session of Circuit Court on Jan. 9.

Also due to report on Jan. 9 is Paul R. Johnson, 36, of Franklin Pike, who pleaded guilty to a charge of criminal attempt to commit the initiation of a process to manufacture methamphetamine.

Johnson was sentenced to nine years, of which he must serve 35 percent before being eligible for a parole board hearing. He was also ordered to pay court costs of $1,003. Johnson's retained attorney was John H. Norton III of Shelbyville. Paul Johnson has prior felony convictions for auto burglary, forgery, and driving after being declared a habitual motor vehicle offender.

One of the agents involved in the bust explained how Johnson was caught.

"On Dec. 22, 2011...while conducting an investigation (at Johnson's home) with Child Protective Services, we located an active and functioning meth lab...Paul R. Johnson admitted to having the lab in this residence," stated Special Agent Mauro Edwards of the 17th Judicial District Drug Task Force.

Johnson's wife Emmanuelle, 34, gave permission for agents to search the home. She was also indicted, charged with the promotion of the manufacture of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, and four counts of reckless endangerment - one for each of the children allegedly present in the home while meth was being manufactured. She allegedly admitted to Edwards that she bought pseudoephedrine and coffee filters for her husband to use in making meth, and told Edwards she was a regular user.

Emmanuelle Johnson's case has not been decided yet.

Also pleading guilty in Circuit Court last month was Brian C. Thompson, 41, of Culleoka, who has been in jail since Aug. 21. Thompson pleaded guilty to driving under the influence, and to driving after being declared a habitual motor vehicle offender.

Crigler sentenced him to one year and six months at 30 percent on the HMVO charge, as well as 90 days on the DUI, plus $350 fine and costs and loss of his driver's license. When he is released, Thompson must attend DUI school and also take an alcohol and drug assessment and abide by its recommendations.