Skip to comments.Shooter of alleged molester may go free
Posted on 04/02/2003 5:48:28 AM PST by Pern
The state Pardon Board voted unanimously Tuesday to recommend that the governor release a man serving time for shooting his daughter's accused molester.
The decision by the Louisiana Board of Pardons means Allie "Bo" Johnson, 47, can leave prison now if Gov. Mike Foster signs off on the recommendation.
Johnson, who has been in prison for almost three years, was sentenced to seven years after pleading guilty to attempted manslaughter.
He shot Donald Wayne Spears in May 1998, after their daughter accused Spears of fondling her and another young girl while a third girl was forced to watch.
Spears served about two years of a five-year sentence before his release last year.
Board Chairman Irvin Magri Jr. said he would take the board's recommendation to Foster today.
"I think we did the right thing -- morally, ethically and legally," Magri said. "I saw the human emotion in a father protecting his virgin child."
The board's recommendation came as a shock to Johnson's family. Part of the reason was that the Louisiana Parole Board in February denied Johnson's request for parole.
Johnson's daughter said she can move on now. Celina Johnson, who was 13 at the time but is 18 now, said she will feel safer with her father at home.
She told the pardon board that she missed her father and that she wanted him to attend her high school graduation in May.
Celina Johnson also said she wanted him to attend a ceremony in which she will pledge to stay chaste before marriage.
"I'm making a promise to God that I will save myself for my wedding, and I want him to be there," Celina Johnson told the pardon board.
Lenora Johnson, Celina Johnson's mother, testified for her husband, saying that she and her husband are remorseful for their roles in Spears' shooting.
After learning of their daughter's allegations against Spears, the Johnson's hatched a plan to kill the man.
Lenora Johnson, pretending to be a young girl, called Spears on the phone, saying her car had broken down.
Spears was lured to Beauregard Parish, 30 miles from his Allen Parish home.
When Spears arrived, Allie Johnson jumped from a truck and shot Spears in the neck.
Spears spent a night in the hospital and received treatment for seven weeks before he was arrested for molesting Celina Johnson and the other girl.
Lenora Johnson pleaded guilty to in the case and was put on probation.
She told the board Tuesday that the shooting happened after a night and day of drinking without eating and sleeping.
"We didn't think it could happen to her, especially since I had been through it when I was 12," Lenora Johnson said. "I thought I could protect her from it."
During the hearing, Allie Johnson told the pardon board that he no longer wants to harm Spears.
"I'm through with Mr. Spears," Johnson said. "I'm ready to be Daddy again."
Johnson told the board that he and his wife did not feel the Beauregard Sheriff's Office treated their daughter's case properly.
Investigators told the family that they would have to wait until after the weekend before detectives could work on the case, Johnson told the board.
While Johnson had many supporters at the hearing Tuesday, including a victim's rights group and a petition of almost 3,000 signatures, he also had opposition.
Beauregard Parish Sheriff's Office spokesman Robert McCullough said Johnson was not a victim, but a perpetrator.
McCullough said investigators went through the same process investigating the Johnson case as they would for any other.
"Had it not been for Mr. Johnson's intoxication, we believe Mr. Spears would have died," McCullough said.
Johnson's record includes two incidents that made McCullough conclude Johnson was a "time bomb" that exploded when he tried to kill Spears, McCullough told the board.
Both incidents involved Johnson threatening people with firearms while he was drunk, McCullough said.
The Beauregard Parish District Attorney's Office also opposed Johnson's release. Spokesman David Burton told the board that the pleas of Johnson's supporters were weaker than the facts of the case.
"Mr. Johnson forfeited any characterization of being a victim when he plotted a murder," Burton said.
Spears, who was on the phone during part of the hearing, hung up to go fishing, an office manager for the board announced during the hearing.
Johnson promised board members that he would attend Alcoholics Anonymous and anger management meetings for one year. He also cannot have a gun.
Johnson cannot have any confrontations with law enforcement agencies and must be under the constant supervision of a parole officer, Magri said.
The board left Johnson's sentence intact. That way, if he violates his parole supervision, he could serve the rest of his prison time. His release date is in September 2007.
Johnson pledged to live up to those conditions.
"After I had time to think about this, I know good and well it was wrong," Johnson said. "At the time, I was tore up. My heart was broke."
Board members voting for Johnson were Magri, the Rev. Paul Blangé, Larry Clark and Julia Sims.
Member the Rev. C.J. Bell was absent.
That is why it is important to do these things sober.