Update on the Atlanta Police Department’s Murder of 92-year-old
Thursday, April 26, 2007 5:36 PM
Current mood: irritated
Category: News and Politics
First of all, if you haven’t gotten the back story,
here is where I first blogged it, and
here is where I followed up on it a couple days later, and
here is the last thing I had to say about it, back in November and December of 2006
As always you can access the Atlanta Journal Constitution using the email address, email@example.com with this password justice4kj .
Well, good news and bad news, and no real time to comment either way, except I am very sad to report what I suspected on December 3, 2006, that Ms. Johnston’s bullets never hit the officers—that it was the officers’ own bullets which hit them—turns out to be true.
Here’s the AJC article
(click that link or read it here):
Officers plea guilty in killing of elderly woman in her home
Murder charges dropped because men agree to help federal investigation of APD
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 04/26/07
Two Atlanta police officers made a second appearance in court today to plead guilty to felonies in the fatal shooting of a 92-year-old woman in her home.
Officers Gregg Junnier and Jason R. Smith made their second stop Wednesday afternoon to plead guilty to violating the civil rights of Kathryn Johnston by killing her during a botched drug raid at her home Nov. 21, 2006.
Charlotte B. Teagle/AJC
Charlotte B. Teagle/AJC
Earlier in the day, the men were in Fulton Superior Court where they admitted to voluntary manslaughter charges along with several other state felony counts.
Sentencing in both courts has been deferred until later to allow the men to cooperate with a federal investigation into the Atlanta police department’s narcotics unit. The men are expected to serve at least 10 years in prison on the federal charges alone.
Before the hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Julie Carnes the two officers sat side-by-side on a bench. Junnier stared ahead while Smith read silently from a Bible opened to the book of John.
Junnier was direct and spoke clearly as he answered Carnes’ questions.
Smith, with a few tears, could barely be heard as he agree he was guilty to the federal charges.
Atlanta police chief Richard Pennington sat in the back corner of the courtroom watching his officers admit they had broken the law.
“Justice was served,” Pennington said after the pleas. “We don’t condone criminal misconduct. It’s unfortunate any time you have a police officer [who feels] that they have to create false reports to enforce the law. It’s a terrible day. And it’s a sad day for them.”
Federal officials said in court documents that the narcotics agents may have falsified records to increase their arrest numbers.
Pennington said he did not understand that.
“We don’t have quotas,” he said. “You still have to do it [the job] within the confines of the law.”
Junnier and Smith will be processed into the Fulton County Jail later today. Their lawyers said they expected their clients to be released on $50,000 bond this evening.
After the state court pleas, Rand Csehy, Junnier’s attorney, said, “It’s a case where the fish rotted from the head down,” referring to police brass not properly training narcotics officers and turning a blind eye to improper procedures of that unit. “Hopefully [the pleas] will reverberate through the police department” and help the narcotics unit clean up its act.
The multi-count indictments were returned late Wednesday but were not made public until Thursday morning.
Smith was charged with 13 felonies, including four counts of felony murder, violation of an oath by a public officer, two counts of giving false statements, two counts of burglary and one count each of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, false imprisonment and perjury.
Junnier, who has retired, was charged with three counts of felony murder, violation of oath by a public officer, criminal solicitation, two counts of burglary and one each of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and making a false statement.
A third officer, Arthur Tesler, is charged only with three felony counts involving making false statements. Tesler, with eight months on the job, has vowed to fight charges against him.
The three officers were among a team of eight narcotics officers who raided Kathryn Johnston’s home Nov. 21 hoping to get a cache of cocaine. They are accused of lying to get a warrant to get into the home. All eight were placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.
Though only one person died during the raid — Johnston — prosecutors brought multiple felony murder charges against Smith and Junnier using other felony counts — the charges of burglary, aggravated assault and false imprisonment of Johnston — to support the counts.
*originally posted at myspace.