“It’s clear that when you’re doing well, you’re a mild-mannered, soft-spoken man. You’ve got two children and you want to be a good father,” Marshall told Johnson. “There’s no reason why you could not be a productive member of the community, but it’s all down to you.”
Last week, Johnson, 44, pleaded guilty to a number of charges that resulted from a 30-hour crime spree in St. John’s last December. Johnson stole beer from five different convenience stores, and committed two armed robberies and two serious assaults on strangers within that time.
It started with the theft of three dozen Coors Light from an Ultramar station on Kenmount Road Dec. 17 and ended the next night after Johnson walked into a West Side Charlie’s and asked an employee to call him a cab, and then badly beat another staff member in the head.
There were 13 charges in all, including theft, armed robbery, assault with a weapon (an imitation gun), using a weapon in the commission of an offence and breach of probation.
Addressing the court, Johnson — whose childhood included physical, emotional and sexual abuse and problems with alcohol at an early age, according to his lawyer — apologized to his victims and said he was off his ADHD and anxiety medication and was stuck in a downward spiral at the time of the offences, having just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and said goodbye to his teenage son, who had moved out of the province with his mother.
“I got the wrong impression in my own mind that I wasn’t needed,” Johnson said.
“Truthfully, I don’t remember a lot of (that) week, but I believe I am responsible. I have no doubt I’m responsible and I’m sorry for any undue stress I put on these people.”
The Crown and defence lawyers had made a joint submission to Marshall for a sentence of five years and one month, which she accepted. Given credit for the time he has been in custody, Johnson has four years and 57 days left on his sentence.