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Warrant issued in North Avenue slaying

April 04, 1997

By JULIE E. GREENE

Staff Writer

An arrest warrant for a Florida man was issued on Friday in the shooting death of a man found March 23 lying face down on West North Avenue in what police think was a botched drug robbery, according to Hagerstown City Police.

Bobby Lavaughn Johnson, 23, of Auburndale, Fla., was being held at the Polk County Jail in Bartow, Fla., on Friday after being arrested April 1 on unrelated charges, said Sonya Dodds, spokeswoman for the Polk County Sheriff's Department.

The Hagerstown arrest warrant for the murder of Michael Eric Mackason Jr. will detain Johnson in the Florida jail if he posts the $1,400 cash bond for misdemeanor theft, said Hagerstown Sgt. Rick Johnson.

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Police believe Bobby Johnson picked up Mackason, 20, of Long Branch, N.J., in a car on March 23 to purchase crack cocaine. Mackason had numerous packets of crack cocaine on him and is believed to have been involved in drug trafficking in Hagerstown, police said.

During the drug transaction, Bobby Johnson pulled a gun on Mackason, in what might have been an attempted robbery of drugs and money, police said. It was then that Johnson allegedly shot Mackason in the forehead, police said.

The side passenger door was opened and Mackason was left on the street, police said.

Johnson declined to comment on whether Bobby Johnson was the sole suspect. The shooting is still under investigation.

The warrant contains charges of murder in the first degree, murder in the second degree, armed robbery, transporting a handgun in a vehicle, assault in the first degree, assault in the second degree, robbery, theft, reckless endangerment, use of a handgun in commission of a felony and conspiracy to commit armed robbery, Johnson said.

Police said they received information about the crime from a witness to the shooting and several people associated with Bobby Johnson before and after the shooting.

The car involved in the slaying will be investigated at the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Laboratory in Rockville, Md., and the Maryland State Police lab in Pikesville, Md., for evidence, police said. The results are expected in six to eight weeks.

Bobby Johnson left the Hagerstown area on March 28 to return to Florida, where he was arrested on unrelated theft charges four days later, police said.

In Polk County, Bobby Johnson was charged with three counts of theft, one count of forgery and one count of uttering a forged instrument, Dodds said.

His arraignment for the misdemeanors is scheduled at Polk County Court on Thursday, April 10, officials said. An extradition hearing had not been scheduled as of Friday.

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