Tony Johnson Pleads Guilty In Tailgate Shooting Deaths
Posted September 21, 2005 12:05 p.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — One of two brothers charged in connection with a double-fatal shooting at an N.C. State tailgating party last year pleaded guilty Wednesday to assault with a deadly weapon with intent to inflict serious injury and accessory after the fact.
Tony Johnson, 21, admitted Wednesday to his role in the Sept. 4, 2004 shooting deaths of 23-year-old Chicago businessman Kevin McCann and Camp Lejeune Marine 2nd Lt. Brett Harman, also 23. Even though prosecutors say his older brother, Timothy Johnson, was the triggerman, they say Tony Johnson assaulted both men.
Last month, a Wake County jury found Timothy Johnson, 23, guilty of first-degree murder in McCann's death and guilty of second-degree murder in Harman's death. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Tony Johnson was facing two counts of first-degree murder, but those charges were dropped in exchange for less serious offenses. Prosecutors admit since he did not pull the trigger, it would have been difficult to convict Tony Johnson on the murder charges. The plea deal also includes accessory after the fact for providing his brother with the getaway car.
The victims' families and Johnson's family cut the deal to avoid another emotional and lengthy trial.
"We're real relieved not to have to go to trial," said the Johnson brothers' mother, Ann Johnson. "It was very hard on our family and I'm sure it was on the other families."
Tony Johnson will be sentenced next month. The maximum he could get would be nearly 28 years. He is currently serving a 16-year term for home invasion.