Michigan man convicted of killing 3 youths near river
A Michigan man faces life in prison after pleading no content Thursday of shooting three teens and attempting to shoot six more near a river swim area close to the Wisconsin-Michigan border last summer, the Pioneer Press reported.
Scott J. Johnson, 38, of Kingsford, Mich., pleaded no content Thursday to 10 felonies. He was convicted of three counts of first-degree intentional homicide, each carrying a life prison term, plus six counts of attempted first-degree intentional homicide and one count of second-degree sexual assault, the Star Tribune reported.
Marinette County Circuit Judge Tim Duket told Johnson he may face up to three life sentences plus 445 years. Duket will decide if Johnson will be eligible for parole on May 21, Pioneer Press said.
Assistant Attorney General and one of the prosecutors, Gary Freyberg, said he had no doubt that Johnson would have been found guilty, the Pioneer Press said.
Johnson's lawyer, public defender Shannon Viel, said Johnson chose to change his plea and there were no plea negotiations Thursday, the Star Tribune said.
“He understands his situation,” Viel told the Star Tribune. “He is not hiding anything. He is not in any denial.”
Johnson was appointed psychologists from the court after dropping an insanity plea in January. The results from those examinations have not been released.
The Star Tribune reported that Johnson is an unemployed army veteran and a divorced father of two. He fired 17 rifle shots at a group of nine youths standing near a popular swimming area at the Menominee River on July 31. Three were killed and one wounded.
Tiffany Pohlson, 17, of Vulcan, Mich., and Anthony Spigarelli, 18, and Bryan Mort, 19, both of Iron Mountain, Mich., died in the attack. Daniel Louis Gordon, 21, of Kingsford, Mich., suffered a superficial back wound from shrapnel, the Pioneer Press reported.
Johnson hid in the woods overnight before turning himself in the next day, the Star Tribune said.