2011-03-31 / Front Page

Johnsons Get State Time For Burglary

Husband and wife sentenced in Crystal Spring burglary
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

A husband and wife convicted by a jury in late January of breaking into a friend’s apartment and stealing well over $1,000 in home decor items have been sentenced to state time given their prior criminal record in neighboring counties.

Twenty-nine-year-olds Crystal Lee and Joshua Clayton Johnson, formerly of Crystal Spring, failed to appear in the Fulton County Court of Common Pleas on February 22 for sentencing in connection with a May 2010 break-in at an apartment above the Crystal Spring Post Office and Bill and Ben’s Bar. Bench warrants were issued for the arrest of the couple who had been found guilty of theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property, criminal trespassing and burglary. Joshua Johnson was also found guilty of mischief.

The duo appeared in court on March 22 after they were picked up on warrants.

Crystal Johnson told president Judge Douglas Herman she was unable to attend the sentencing last month after she “rode away with someone she didn’t know really well.”

“I had every intention of being in court that day,” she said. “ ... I didn’t want to be on the run and cause more trouble.”

“We’re dealing with someone who has a serious drug adiction ... She’s messed up. That’s what drug addicts do. It’s a huge obstacle in her life,” noted Fulton County Public Defender Tamela Bard on behalf of Crystal Johnson. She followed her statement by requesting the judge consider allowing her client to participate in the Franklin County Day Reporting Center as long as the girl’s mother could provide transportation.

“There doesn’t appear to be any drug or alcohol treatment in your history,” said the judge. “ ... You’ve spent a good portion of your life trying to kill yourself with drugs.”

However, due to her actions, Judge Herman stated he would be unable to follow a prior recommendation to allow Crystal Johnson to participate in the State Intermediate Punishment (SIP) program, a two-year stepdown substance abuse program for prison inmates.

She was ordered to complete between nine and 36 months in a state correctional institution on one count of burglary and an additional three to 24 months for receiving stolen property. For the purpose of sentencing, the charges of theft and trespassing merged with burglary. Credit was granted for time previously served. Crystal Johnson will also pay $300 in fines, a $25-permonth restitution fee and $1,365 in restitution to burglary victim Kelly Snyder.

Meanwhile, Joshua Johnson’s defense attorney Todd Michael Sponseller said his client failed to appear due to being at his parents’ home in Maryland trying to “get himself clean of heroin and alcohol.” He was apprehended on February 24 but chose not to speak to the judge on his behalf.

As a result, Joshua Johnson was ordered to 12 to 36 months in a state correctional institution for burglary and a consecutive three- to 12-month sentence for receiving stolen property. He will pay fines totalling $500, a $25- per-month supervision fee and share in the restitution payment to Snyder.

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