Mitchell Johnson, one of two youths who killed school children at Jonesboro’s Westside Middle School in March 1998, is again in trouble with the law.
Johnson (shown at top in a 1997 school photo and below in sheriff’s office mugshot) was arrested Jan. 1 in Fayetteville for two misdemeanors — possession of a handgun and possession of marijuana. He was in the company of another convicted killer.
Johnson, now 22, was 13 when he and his cousin Andrew Golden, then 11, opened fire from ambush and killed five and wounded 10 students and teachers at the Westside school.
Johnson was released from prison in August 2005 on his 21st birthday, the maximum that juveniles could be held under the law at the time he was sentenced. Golden turns 21 on May 25 this year. News articles at the time said Johnson would not be prohibited from owning a weapon.
Deputy Jak Kimball of the Washington County sheriff’s office said Johnson was arrested about 8 p.m. on Gregg Street in Fayetteville after deputies stopped an older model van that had crossed the center line. The deputy smelled marijuana and ordered the driver, Justin Trammell, 22, and his passenger, Johnson, out of the van. They live together in Fayetteville at a Gregg Street address.
The deputy found about 20 grams of marijuana in Johnson’s pocket. Johnson also told the deputy that he would find a loaded pistol in the vehicle. A search turned up a 9-mm semi-automatic pistol. Trammel was cited for careless driving and released. Johnson was charged with the misdemeanors. He was released on a $1,000 bond and will have a court appearance at 8 a.m. Jan. 26.
Johnson’s companion was convicted of killing with his father with a crossbow Sept. 26, 1999 when he lived in Bentonville. The 15-year-old’s father had confronted him when he tried to take the family car to run away and the boy reportedly threw a knife at his mother when she tried to call police.
According to newspaper accounts, Trammell was charged under the state’s Extended Juvenile Adjudication Statute. The law, enacted after the Westside School shootings, allows a juvenile to be tried as an adult, including receiving an adult sentence, but be treated as a juvenile until he turns 18.
In October 2002, Trammell was released from custody and placed on probation. In June 2004, Trammell was arrested by Fayetteville police for public intoxication and possession of a fake ID while attempting to enter a bar. His parole was revoked. Released on parole again, he was arrested in September 2004 for domestic abuse on his son’s mother. A judge ruled that he had violated his probation, but found that he couldn’t be sent to adult prison. Instead, he was sentenced to the Division of Youth Services’ serious-offender program for 18- to 21-year-olds in Dermott. He was released when he turned 21.