Ex-officers sentenced in shooting death

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ATLANTA --- A federal judge sentenced three former Atlanta police officers to prison Tuesday for their part in a botched drug raid that ended with the death of an elderly woman in gunfire.

Jason R. Smith, Gregg Junnier and Arthur Tesler received sentences ranging from five years to 10. Kathryn Johnston, 92, was killed by police gunfire during the 2006 raid at her home.

After receiving an incorrect tip from a known drug dealer, police used a "no-knock" warrant to enter Ms. Johnston's house to look for drugs. As they tried to break in, Ms. Johnston fired a single shot through the door with a rusty revolver, and the officers fired 39 bullets in return. Prosecutors say officers found no drugs inside the house and tried to cover up the mistake by planting baggies of marijuana.

U.S. District Judge Julie E. Carnes sentenced Mr. Smith to 10 years in federal prison. She sentenced Mr. Junnier to six years and Mr. Tesler to five.

All the men will receive credit for time already served and will get three years supervised release after they serve their sentences. Judge Carnes also ordered them to split the cost of reimbursing Ms. Johnston's estate $8,180 for funeral and burial expenses.

The Rev. Markel Hutchins, spokesman for Ms. Johnston's family, spoke by telephone to her niece and closest living relative, Sarah Dozier, 76, of Atlanta after the sentencing. "She certainly breathed a sigh of relief that there is nearly some resolution, particularly with regard to these officers," he said.

The three men earlier had each pleaded guilty to the federal charge of conspiring to violate Ms. Johnston's civil rights.

Mr. Smith and Mr. Junnier also pleaded guilty to state charges, including manslaughter. They are set to be sentenced on those charges next month. Under their plea agreements, their state sentences will be served concurrently with their federal punishment.

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reader54 02/25/09 - 07:48 am
They lied to get a search

They lied to get a search warrant, fired 39 bullets after 1 had been fired by the homeowner after they kicked in the door and then planted dope and tried to cover it up.Well,what were they doing with dope? Were they planning on planting it if they didn't find any?! This is about as bad a case of abuse of power as it gets and they get slapped on the wrist.They do this sort of thing all the time only someone was killed this time. Usually it is swept under the rug.Now everybody that has been arrested by these thugs will be filing appeals based on their unlawful conduct.I guess they had a stolen handgun in their pocket as well to plant in case something of this nature occurred!!The worst thugs are the thugs with badges.All of this B.S.over marijuana.Wow!!Big danger!!

justus4 02/25/09 - 10:29 am
The decision of this judge is

The decision of this judge is an example of institutionalized racism that run throughout this wicked system. A blind person can see this! A free country? How? A old woman sitting in her home, cops burst in and shoots her over twenty times. Then the cops lie about the shooting. Wow! America!? Where? This woman was a minority and her life meant nothing to this judge, based on her sentences. That much is clear. THIS is what an African-Ameriacn must endure in this country, knowing the corruption exists and feeling helpless. THIS is why Rev Lowery asked during the Inaugural prayer, "When Will Whites Do What Is Right?" That was his prayer, but in this case "they" again failed to do what's right. "They" have no respect for minority life and this decision proves it. Again, a complete disgrace.

Obamessiah 02/25/09 - 02:38 pm
quick! someone shut justus4

quick! someone shut justus4 up! he is exposing our evil white plans to kill off the black people!

parrishrd 02/25/09 - 06:22 pm
One day there will equal

One day there will equal justice for all people. Today is not that day. What would be the media coverage be if this was a white woman of the same age? She did not die of old age, but from the bullets of crooked cops. I do not see all the know-it-all comments that I see all the time. Is it because people recognize the wrongs that have been done. What are you people willing to do about this? Nothing? She was and old black woman that nobody cared about, based on the amount of media coverage that the sentences received. Lets get rid of this fake holiday called Black History Month so that the racist people in this country can stop using it as a sign that the country is now equal.

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