Judge finds man guilty of shooting house, injuring 5-year-old girl
A Hennepin County District Court judge found Marquell Johnson guilty on all three counts of shooting at a house and wounding a five-year-old girl, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Tuesday.
Johnson, 27, of Minneapolis was found guilty of drive-by shooting, possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and second-degree assault in the Aug. 12 shooting which punctured a Minneapolis duplex with seven bullet holes. Johnson will be sentenced on Jan. 7 and prosecutors will seek a sentence of 13 years in prison.
“This is a very good outcome on a difficult case,” Freeman said. “Minneapolis police investigators and our prosecutors were convinced Johnson was the right man, although the evidence was circumstantial. We are pleased that justice was done for that little girl. It offends our sensibilities as a people that a child can be sleeping in her bed and be shot.”
Hennepin County District Court Judge Kerry Meyer listened to the testimony, without a jury, and reviewed evidence in a court trial Nov. 25 through Nov. 27. She made her ruling Monday afternoon.
According to the testimony in the case, Martha Timberlake, who lives in the lower level of the duplex at 2119 Fourth St. N., left for work shortly after her significant other returned home about 6:30 a.m. While driving south, a black sedan drove north and passed her. She recognized the driver as someone who visited the people living in the upstairs unit of the duplex.
A surveillance camera saw the black sedan stop near 2107 Fourth Street, then 10 seconds later continue north on Fourth Street. One minute and 17 seconds after the black sedan was seen in front of 2107 Fourth St., a black sedan was seen driving quickly in the alley behind the duplex. No other people or vehicles were seen in the alley.
Within that 77 seconds, the evidence indicates that the shooter got out of the black sedan, walked about 10 feet, fired seven shots at the house and drove away.
Timberlake was filling her car with gas two blocks away when she received a phone call telling her that her daughter had been shot in the foot. She drove home and was with police and her daughter on the ambulance ride to the hospital. While on social media, she found a picture of Johnson and said he was the one in the black sedan.
While he did not testify in the trial, Johnson’s videotaped interview with police was played in court. Judge Meyer concluded that he “was not credible in any of his statements. He changed his story about nearly every topic of discussion during the lengthy interview.”
In her written findings and verdict, Judge Meyer said there was “no reasonable conclusion other than the driver of the black sedan parked behind 2119, exited the vehicle, walked a few steps into the yard to get a clear view of the house through the trees, fired seven shots at the section of the house with bedroom windows facing the alley, got back in the sedan and drove away.” She concluded that Johnson was the shooter.