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MARINETTE - Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced that on May 21, 2009, Marinette County Circuit Court Judge Tim A. Duket sentenced Scott Johnson, 38, of Iron Mountain Michigan, on three (3) counts of first degree intentional homicide using a dangerous weapon, six (6) counts of attempted first degree intentional homicide using a dangerous weapon, and one count of second degree sexual assault by use or threats of force or violence.
Johnson had been scheduled to stand trial for the crimes starting March 16, 2009, in Marinette County Circuit Court, but entered pleas of no contest and was convicted on March 5, 2009. Under Wisconsin law, Johnson faced 3 mandatory life sentences for the homicides and an additional 445 years imprisonment for the other crimes for which he was convicted.
Johnson's crime spree began on the night of July 30, 2008. Johnson, 38, of Kingsford, Michigan, sexually assaulted a 26 year old Michigan woman in the woods near the Wisconsin shoreline of the Menomonie River in the area of the East Kingsford train bridge in the Town of Niagara, Marinette County, Wisconsin. Despite the efforts of law enforcement officers from Michigan and Wisconsin on that night and the following day to locate and question Johnson concerning the sexual assault, Johnson managed to evade police. On the afternoon of July 31, 2008, Johnson retrieved a high powered rifle and ammunition he had hidden in the woods and used it to shoot and kill two teenagers, Anthony Spigarelli and Tiffany Pohlson, in the woods near the train bridge, which is a popular summer swimming spot. Two other teenagers, Katrina Coates and Derek Barnes, escaped Johnson's attempts to kill them by running to safety at a house in Wisconsin. Moments after shooting the teenagers in Wisconsin, Johnson opened fire on another group of teenagers gathered under the train bridge on the Michigan shore of the river, killing Bryan Mort. Four other teenagers, Daniel Gordon, Kevin Johnson, Jonathan McClure and Christopher Martinson escaped the shots. Law enforcement officers from multiple jurisdictions in Wisconsin and Michigan surrounded the area near the train bridge and on August 1, 2008, at about 8:45 a.m. captured Johnson, who confessed to the crimes.
Judge Duket sentenced Johnson to 3 (three) life sentences without possibility of release to extended supervision for the homicides. On each of the counts of attempted homicide, Judge Duket sentenced Johnson to the maximum possible 65 years imprisonment with the maximum of 45 years initial confinement and the maximum 20 years extended supervision. On the sexual assault, Johnson received the maximum sentence of 40 years total imprisonment. Of that 40 years Johnson received the maximum 25 years initial confinement and the maximum 15 years extended supervision. The sentences were ordered to be served consecutively. Under the sentences, Johnson will spend the rest of his life in prison.
“I would like to extend my heartfelt condolences to the victims of these horrific crimes. Their strength and courage is an inspiration to us all. I would also like to express my appreciation to the many law enforcement agencies and citizens in Wisconsin and Michigan who helped in the capture, investigation, and prosecution of the defendant,” said Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. “Their professionalism prevented even greater tragedy and permitted this case to be concluded with convictions on all charges in a timely and fair court proceeding.”
Assistant Attorneys General Gary A. Freyberg and Roy R. Korte handled the prosecution for the state of Wisconsin as special prosecutors for Marinette County. Additional support was provided by the Wisconsin Department of Justice's Office of Crime Victim Services.