On Monday, February 7, 30-year-old Dante L. Johnson was found not guilty of open murder in connection with the 2014 shooting death of Orlando Walker in Kalamazoo. Walker was shot on July 6, 2014; three people were charged in the shooting incident. While Johnson was acquitted of the murder charge, he was found guilty of firearm possession by a felon and on one count of felony firearm.
Johnson was charged with open murder in June of last year, after another person charged in the case identified Johnson as the shooter. Murder charges against Kenneth Langston were dismissed, however four other individuals supported his version of events and accusation that Johnson was the shooter.
According to news reports, gunfire erupted in the area of North Church and Norway Avenue on July 6; Walker was attempting to flee the area when he was struck in the chest by a .22 caliber round. He was taken to a local hospital, where he later succumbed to his injury.
The jury found Johnson not guilty after they could not determine that he was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The judge in the case allowed Johnson’s defense attorney to introduce into evidence the fact that murder charges against Langston had been dismissed; he also testified for the prosecution. Additionally, the testimony of Langston and two other witnesses regarding what actually took place on the day the victim was killed was conflicting, adding to jurors’ doubts.
Allegations of murder are the most serious a person can face. A conviction can result in penalties that include life in prison, depending on whether the accused is charged with first- or second-degree murder, or another homicide offense.
Those who have been charged with or who are under investigation for murder must consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. No matter how dire the situation may seem, a skilled lawyer will work to secure the best possible result, protecting your legal rights and developing the strongest possible defense strategy.