The three Atlanta cops responsible for shooting to death a 92-year-old woman in her home in a botched drug raid two years ago wept Monday as they served up apologies.
Shamed by the official ruling that they lied and conspired to hide the truth about their actions the day Kathryn Johnston was gunned down, Gregg Junnier, Jason Smith and Arthur Bruce Tesler presented their teary explanations to U.S. District Judge Julie Carnes, who is to decide their fate.
Previously, all three pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate Johnston’s civil rights by causing her death.
On Nov. 21, 2006, Smith wrote a bogus affidavit to gain the no-knock search warrant that authorized them to kick in Johnston’s door. The frightened, elderly woman, apparently believing her home was being invaded, fired off her old, rusty revolver through the door. That triggered a deadly response – 39 shots from the officers, at least five of which struck and killed Johnston.
The DA has recommended that Smith go to prison for 12 years and seven months and that Junnier and Tesler serve 10 years and one month. Because of his “almost unprecedented” cooperation three weeks ago, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jon-Peter Kelly asked Carnes to sentence Junnier to five or six years in prison. And because Kelly also cooperated, the U.S. attorney requested that the judge reduce his sentence by nearly two years. Tesler said he was uncomfortable when he saw Smith about to plant baggies of marijuana inside Johnston’s house to make it look like a drug den, and he acknowledged falsifying the police report and later lying about the raid because Smith told him to.
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