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Published: Tuesday, 4/2/2013

Court’s video feed used to arraign alleged escape artist

BY TAYLOR DUNGJEN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

While he waited for his son, Jonathon Johnson, to be arraigned Monday on aggravated murder and burglary charges, John Johnson said he couldn't blame him for running from police.

“When you feel it's the end of the rope and all you have is somebody said you did it, I'd run too,” Mr. Johnson told The Blade.

The younger Mr. Johnson, 23, of 1657 Vance St. is accused in the shooting death of Jonathan Morris, 22, who died of his wounds on Oct. 5.

Mr. Johnson, who is being held in the Lucas County jail, appeared in Toledo Municipal Court on Monday by video because of his reputation as an escape artist.

His bond was set at $800,000.

Mr. Johnson managed to escape and flee from police twice in as many days.

The Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force went to his mother's home on Dorr Street on Friday morning to arrest the suspect. Mr. Johnson dived head first out of a second-story window and led police on a chase through that inner-city neighborhood, authorities reported. About 30 minutes later, he was found hiding in a wooden doghouse.

Mr. Johnson was taken to the Lucas County jail where he complained to jailhouse staff that he did not feel well; he was taken to Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center.

Saturday afternoon, Mr. Johnson was discharged from the hospital and three deputies from the sheriff's office were escorting the suspect — who was wearing a brown jail jumpsuit, handcuffs, and leg chains — when he somehow got free, allegedly assaulted at least one deputy, and took off running.

City and Mercy police officers spent 20 minutes searching for him. A Toledo police sergeant found the suspect hiding in an enclosed porch in the 100 block of Palmer Street.

Police said Mr. Johnson had to break into the porch, leading to the burglary charge.

During the arraignment, Mr. Johnson questioned the last charge.

“They said I ran up the stairs,” Mr. Johnson said via the video feed. “How is that burglary?”

The elder Mr. Johnson said his son is not guilty and thinks the murder charge is “ridiculous because two people have [already] been charged with the same charge.”

Police have charged Andrew Goetz of 614 Earl St. and Chaz Jackson of 1158 Clark St., both 28, with aggravated murder, murder, and aggravated robbery, all with gun specifications.

The younger Mr. Johnson was already charged with obstructing official business in the same case for allegedly providing police with a false alibi.

The elder Mr. Johnson said his son knows both Mr. Goetz and Mr. Jackson, but said they were not close friends; he said he never heard of Mr. Morris.

Contact Taylor Dungjen at: tdungjen@theblade.com or 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @taylordungjen.



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