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10 years ago Mitchell Johnson pleaded guilty for the Jonesboro schoolyard massacre!

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Mitchell Johnson is an American murderer. Johnson, along with middle school classmate Andrew Golden, ambushed teachers and fellow students in the backyard of Westside Middle School during the Jonesboro massacre in Jonesboro, Arkansas on March 24, 1998. They murdered four young girls and a teacher, also wounding 10 people.


Mitchell Johnson's mother had remarried an inmate at the prison where she was a guard. Johnson reportedly had a good relationship with his stepfather and siblings. Adults who knew him described him as quiet and respectful. However, his fellow students described him as a bully who talked of wanting to belong to gangs and smoke marijuana. He also spoke of "having a lot of killing to do" and holding a bitter grudge against Shannon Wright, a teacher. It was also commented that he had a nearly obsessive fascination with rap music, firearms, and violent television shows.


Johnson had reportedly started planning the attack at least one month in advance. He and Andrew Golden stole seven weapons over the course of a month from Golden's grandfather's firearm collection.


On the night of March 23, 1998, Johnson and Golden loaded his mother's van with weapons, snack foods, and camping supplies, and went to sleep.


The next day, Johnson stole his mother's keys and drove to the school with Golden. Johnson parked the van in the middle of the woods outside of the backyard of the school, planning to return there once the massacre was over. Johnson sat on a hill in the backyard of the school, while Golden went inside and pulled the fire alarm. Golden ran back and rejoined him at the hill with his weapon. As the students and teachers filed out of the building, thinking it was a routine fire drill, Johnson and Golden opened fire on them.


After they fired for four minutes, four students and a teacher (all female) were killed, and eleven more were wounded. As the police arrived on the scene, Johnson and Golden ran into the woods back to the van. However, they failed to outrun the officers that were pursuing them; and were both arrested.


They were held in jail for four months, and the trial began on August 11, 1998, Johnson's 14th birthday. Both Johnson and Golden were each convicted on five counts of murder, ten counts of attempted murder, and seven counts of illegal firearm possession. However, the maximum sentence that could be imposed on a minor under Arkansas law was to be held until their 18th birthday. This outraged many residents of Jonesboro, and led to changes in laws in Arkansas regarding the prosecution of minors. However, the firearm counts were all federal, so they could be held until age 21.


Johnson was released on August 11, 2005, on his 21st birthday. He spent less than 2 years in jail for each murder that he committed. He is allowed to buy and own firearms. However, in interviews with Johnson's mother, she has said that he plans to leave Jonesboro and become a Baptist. However in a deposition taken for the civil case, he stated that he wanted to become a Seventh Day Aventist Minister, but hasn't found a Seventh Day Adventist church that he liked. Golden was released on May 25, 2007. Golden's exact whereabouts are unknown, but he is known to be living in Arkansas under an assumed name.


On January 1, 2007, Johnson was arrested after a traffic stop in Fayetteville, Arkansas on misdemeanor charges of carrying a weapon a loaded 9 mm pistol and possession of 21.2 grams of marijuana. Though the van Johnson was riding in was registered to him, the driver was 22-year-old Justin Trammell. Trammell and Johnson reportedly met at Alexander Youth Services correctional facility in Alexander, Arkansas, where Trammell was incarcerated after pleading guilty to the 1999 crossbow murder of his father, a crime committed when Trammell was 15. The pair are roommates and provided officers with the same Fayetteville address.


Trammel was cited for careless driving and released. Johnson was arrested for possession of marijuana and a loaded weapon and later released on a $1,000 bond. He had a court appearance on January 26, 2007 at the Washington County, Arkansas courthouse.


Johnson was indicted by a federal grand jury on October 24, 2007 for possession of a firearm while either using or addicted to a controlled substance. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Arkansas reported that Johnson pleaded not guilty and was released on a $5,000 bond.


Johnson's trial date began on January 28, 2008. The following day, Johnson was found guilty on a charge of possessing a weapon while being a drug user. He is in jail awaiting sentencing.


On February 2, 2008, Johnson was arrested for possession of marijuana at the convenience store he worked at, the police were investigating the use of a stolen credit card. The following Tuesday he was arrested on the felony charge of theft by receiving of a credit / debit card in connection to the theft.

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