MILWAUKEE – A Michigan man who killed three teens in a shooting rampage on the Wisconsin border last summer was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without parole.
The sentence wasn't surprising.
Scott J. Johnson, 38, of Kingsford, Mich., pleaded no contest in March to 10 felonies, including three counts of first-degree intentional homicide. The homicide convictions carry mandatory life sentences, although Marinette County Circuit Judge Tim Duket could have given Johnson a chance for parole.
Johnson fired on youths at a popular swimming spot along the Menominee River in July.
He killed Tiffany Pohlson, 17, of Vulcan, Mich., and Anthony Spigarelli, 18, and Bryan Mort, 19, both of Iron Mountain, Mich. Daniel Louis Gordon, now 21, of Kingsford, Mich., was hit in the back but survived.
Duket sentenced Johnson to three consecutive life terms for the teens' deaths and 295 years for six counts of attempted first-degree intentional homicide and one count of second-degree sexual assault.
Johnson showed no emotion when he heard the sentence. He has expressed no remorse for his actions. He told The Associated Press in March he's as indifferent to the homicides as if he had spilled a glass of milk.
"Do you get all upset about it? No, you just clean it up and get another glass of milk," he said.
Defense attorney Carrie LaPlant didn't comment specifically on the sentence but said she asked for Johnson to receive a chance at parole at some point because she does that for every client. She said she has discussed an appeal with Johnson and he will make a decision on it soon.
Johnson initially pleaded insanity but dropped that in January. A court-appointed psychologist who examined him reported he told her his "purpose was to kill. Jesus could have been walking with Moses that day and I would have killed them."
In March, Johnson also pleaded no contest to sexually assaulting a 24-year-old woman near the river the day before the shooting rampage. He told investigators he knew police would come looking for him after the assault, so, with nothing to lose or live for, he plotted to kill.
Johnson had planned to shoot responding police officers after killing the swimmers but couldn't find a clean shot, according to a criminal complaint.
He hid in the woods overnight and eventually began to fear a sniper's bullet would paralyze rather than kill him. He turned himself in the next morning because he thought suicide would be cowardly, the complaint said.
Johnson told investigators he thought about committing a random shooting for four or five years. Investigators said he stashed weapons in the woods for at least a year in preparation.
Johnson, however, said he hid the weapons there because he'd bought them with bad checks and didn't want to incriminate his mother by keeping illegal goods in her home.
Honorably discharged from the Army in 1994 without seeing combat, Johnson was unemployed and had been living with his mother, Judy Johnson. She described him as despondent since his wife left him in 2001 and took their two children to Ohio.