It wasn’t enough a Shelbyville man beat, raped, and held hostage his wife and let his children witness the humiliation. He was recently arrested for stalking her. Then his own mother, 55, was arrested for participating – again – in the domestic violence case.
Earlier this month, David Wayne Johnson Jr., 28, “attacked (his wife) with objects, held a gun to her chest so hard it has left an imprint of a gun barrel …cut all her clothing, photos and other personal items to pieces…” for several days (source). Their children, aged 7, 5, and 4, witnessed the abuse. “These kids have seen a lot,” says the victim’s family member, who will be kept anonymous in this article for their safety. “Some of the things they say. My God.” Johnson had called his mother and sister that day to pick up the children. Mary Ann Johnson, 55, and Sheila Ann Johnson, 22, arrived on the scene and Sheila, David’s sister, slapped the victim prior to departing with the kids. They were later charged with Accessory.
The victim escaped, running for her life to safety with David Johnson following in his vehicle. The story does not end there. Johnson was arrested and held on $500,00 bond in Bedford County, but “put up” his work equipment and bonded out, according to a reliable source. Johnson is “a tree trimmer.”
Later this month, the victim and a family member were outside with the victim’s children, at the victim’s mother’s home in Smyrna. They were trying to restore some semblance of peace and safety in their lives when David Johnson drove slowly past in his father’s truck. “That’s my daddy!” One of the kids called out. Quickly, the adults hustled the children into the house, fearful of a kidnapping, an attack, or worse. They cowered behind furniture as law enforcement was called to the scene. “I know how Mary thinks,” the victim said. “She’ll be next.” All legal forms were completed; an Order of Protection was filed against Mary Ann Johnson and served. Days later, Mary Ann Johnson was observed driving slowly past the victim’s mother’s home.
“She was driving (the victim’s) car,” says the family member. “We recognized (the victim’s) car. We saw Mary driving. We knew it was her.” Now the family must work to recover the victim’s vehicle. “It’s a nightmare,” the family member says, tears in their voice. “I love (the victim) so much. We all do. She’s been through too much.” This was when the family learned David Johnson had been arrested. “She must have been driving by because he was locked up.” Later, the victim’s family learned Mary Ann Johnson was arrested.
On August 29, David Johnson Jr., will appear before General Sessions Judge Charles Rich for the hearing on the order of protection, and a preliminary hearing on charges of especially aggravated kidnapping and especially aggravated rape. “Judge Rich doesn’t play,” says a Shelbyville resident who is all too familiar with the court system and asked not to be named. “He takes the law real serious and he does not allow any (foolish behavior) in his courtroom.”
Johnson had hired famed criminal defense attorney John “Snortin’” Norton to defend him, but has not fully paid a retainer, thus Norton has not agreed to representation. “Norton don’t work for free,” says the above-mentioned Shelbyville resident. “And he don’t do anything out of kindness.” Mary Ann and Sheila Ann Johnson are to appear on August 29 as well; Both requested a public defender but notified they did not qualify.
It is yet another case of domestic violence, one the Shelbyville investigators call “The worst case of domestic violence ever seen” (source). Johnson has proven he is a very dangerous man, and his mother and sister have shown they are not far behind. Meanwhile, the victim and her children must keep looking over their backs, and their family provides a buffer zone. “We tried to keep her away from him for so long,” says a family member of the victim. “Now that we have her safe, we’re never gonna let her go again.” They hope so.
Sign this petition to ask the Judge: give the Johnsons the maximum legal penalty on Aug. 29
Tennessee Domestic Violence Helplines
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Credit: photo of Judith Yates