The Preliminary Hearing was scheduled for October 26, 2012 in the David W. Johnson, Jr. case. In what law enforcement officers deemed, “The worst case of domestic violence seen” the Johnson family saga continued in court.
In the tan and cream-colored walls of the Circuit Court on the second floor of the Bedford County Courthouse, David W. Johnson Jr., charged with especially aggravated kidnapping and especially aggravated rape, appeared before Judge Charles Rich. David’s mother, Mary Johnson, and sister, Sheila Johnson, also appeared. Attorneys John Norton and Kelly Wilson and District Attorney Crane were in place for the preliminary hearing. The victim and her family stayed downstairs, away from the Johnson’s. The hearing was set for 10:00 A.M.
Attorney John Norton represented Johnson, Jr. Wilson represented Johnson’s sister, Sheila. An attorney who could not appear but gave consent to Norton speaking for him represented Mary, David and Sheila’s mother. At 10:05 A.M. Norton requested time to confer with the clients in private.
Meanwhile, the victim waited nervously downstairs. Her family members never let her far from their sight, walking with her to the soft drink machine and the few steps outside for fresh air. “We don’t let her too far away,” said her sister. “He (Johnson, Jr.) kept her from seeing us for too long.” When she was in the area, the victim’s family held her or hugged her close.
Waiting for the attorneys and their clients to return to the courtroom was difficult for the victim. “I don’t know where I’m supposed to be,” she admitted. “I don’t even know if my attorney is here or not.” Like many victims, she is learning how the legal system operates as she is forced to go through the structure. In the interim, as the Judge conferred with the District Attorney, the Bailiff snoozed in his seat, snoring lightly. He did not awake when a door shut near him, but did awake when the attorneys and the Johnsons returned.
John Norton then announced David Wayne Johnson, Jr. waived his rights to a preliminary hearing. Johnson’s bond is being kept at $500,000. He goes before the Grand Jury next month on November 19 at 1:00 P.M. Mary and Sheila’s cases, explained Norton, will be disposed of in general session’s court on Wednesday, February 20, 2013. A permanent ex parte Order of Protection was also issued to all three Johnsons.
David, dressed in the same grey suit he wore at his initial preliminary hearing, stood demur with his hands clasped behind his back when facing Judge Rich. He answered in a soft voice when asked if his statements were free and voluntary, and if he understood his rights afforded by law. “Yes, sir,” he murmured.
A legal expert close to the case confided the Johnson’s legal team attempted to negotiate and have Johnson plea bargain, and serve 85% of a 10-year sentence. The District Attorney has refused this offer. “He (David) is going to do some time,” says the expert. “And it won’t be eight or ten years.”
On July 4, 2012, David Johnson, Jr. brutally beat and raped the victim, his wife, who managed to break free and escape on the third day. Mary Ann and Sheila Ann Johnson assisted in holding the victim hostage during this time, according to authorities (source).
A petition has been created asking the Johnsons receive the maximum sentence allowable by law when they appear in court.** According to the victim, David Johnson, Jr. continues to seek her out. At one time he, “pointed at me, like he was saying, ‘I will get you.” The victim has found a job she loves, is living at an undisclosed location, and is finding herself. “I found out I’m pretty,” she says now. “After all the years of him telling me I’m ugly and stupid, I am finally starting to feel good.” The depression still lingers, but the victim is seeking counseling for herself and her children. “When I am able, I’m going to pay it back,” she vows. “I want to help others learn they don’t have to put up with (domestic violence).”
As they departed the courthouse, the Johnsons happened to pass by the victim’s sister and a friend. Shelia Johnson reached up to pat her head, and extended her middle finger in a vulgar gesture so the victim’s family could see it.
“I don’t care,” said the victim. “They don’t have power over me, not anymore.”
**Sign the petition HERE
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Credit: photo of Judith Yates & TN. DV victim assistance