Michigan man receives probation in case involving fatal shooting of police officer

News & Politics

Wayne County, Michigan prosecutors are defending a controversial plea deal offered to a man named Eddie Ray-Jr. Johnson who admitted to fatally shooting Detroit police sergeant Elaine Williams in 2019.

Unlike many other recent officer-involved shootings, Johnson and Williams were not strangers, and were in fact apparently involved in a romantic relationship. Prosecutors say that after a lengthy investigation into the incident, which involved a confusing crime scene and allegations of domestic abuse, they would have struggled to meet their burden of proof at trial.

The incident in question occurred on June 2, 2019, when police responded to a call at the couple’s home, whereupon they found Williams dead inside the home. Johnson had reportedly also been shot in the abdomen.

Prosecutors say that a police investigation determined that Williams and Johnson had gone out drinking the night of the incident in question, and toxicology reports suggest that both of them were extremely intoxicated at the time of the shooting. Williams reportedly had a blood alcohol concentration of .240 – three times the normal limit for intoxication – at the time of her death. Johnson was tested at the scene and also had an extremely high blood alcohol concentration of .189. Neighbors reported hearing the couple arguing loudly as they returned home.

When police arrived at the scene, Johnson immediately claimed that he only shot Williams after she shot him first in the abdomen. According to Johnson, he then struggled with Williams, and fatally shot her during the struggle.

Investigators say that they found eight shell casings that were apparently ejected from Williams’ service weapon after firing in the house.

In light of these facts, prosecutors decided to allow Johnson to enter a plea of no contest to manslaughter, and sentenced him to three years of probation.

Prosecutor Kym Worthy explained in a statement, “I take all domestic violence cases very seriously. I also take my role as Prosecutor very seriously. The evidence was carefully considered by three veteran assistant prosecutors and myself. In this case, where both parties were shot with the same gun, the order of events is open to multiple interpretations. Considering our burden of proof, we believe this is an appropriate resolution. The decision to offer this plea to this defendant was not what we wanted to do, but it was the just thing to do.”

Williams’ family, however, was not convinced, and blasted Worthy both during and after the court session on Friday. “This is a bunch of crap,” said Williams father. “hot in the back of the head – four times. That’s an execution – that ain’t no damn self-defense.”

Williams’ mother agreed. “The system has failed us. The system has failed this family. The system has failed the community.”

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