BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WALA) - A life-changing decision was made Wednesday in the case of Deon Johnson. The former Spanish Fort football star, who is facing multiple charges of sexual assault, asked for youthful offender status that would drastically shorten a jail sentence if he’s found guilty.
YOUTHFUL OFFENDER STATUS ON THE LINE
There were tense moments in Judge Langford Floyd’s Bay Minette courtroom Wednesday as Deon “DJ” Johnson awaited a major decision. The public and media were removed from the courtroom as Judge Floyd listened to arguments on youthful offender status, a change that would reduce a possible sentence for Johnson to a maximum of three years for each of the four sexual assault charges he faces. In less than an hour a decision was made.
Johnson’s attorney, John White, told us, “Deon is going to be treated as a youthful offender in two cases and as an adult in two cases.”
White was fighting for all the charges to be granted youthful offender status. Judge Floyd granted it to only to the lesser charges.
“He will be treated as a youthful offender in the second-degree rape and the second-degree sodomy. He will be treated as an adult on both of the first-degree rape cases,” White said.
STILL FACING EXTENSIVE JAIL TIME
Prosecutor Theresa Heinz said, “We are pleased that he denied youthful offender in the two that he denied it in and we would have like to see him deny it in all of them.”
Heinz said if Johnson is found guilty he’ll still face a heavy penalty.
“He’s facing two counts of rape in the first-degree which is forcible rape. He’s looking at 10 to life on each of those charges which could be run consecutively in addition to the youthful offender facing the three years on each of those counts,” Heinz said.
Judge Floyd set the trials in the adult cases for next March. The youthful offender cases would be tried once those are completed.
Johnson is still in jail. His bond has been revoked twice for continuing to communicate with one of the victims in his case.
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