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Murder suspect brought back

August 01, 1997

By MARLO BARNHART

Staff Writer

Bobby Lavaughn Johnson, a suspect in a March 23 shooting death in Hagerstown, was returned to Washington County from Florida on Wednesday.

An arrest warrant for Johnson was issued on April 4 in the shooting death of Michael Eric Mackason Jr., who was found lying face down on West North Avenue in what police think was a botched drug robbery, according to Hagerstown City Police.

Johnson, 23, of Auburndale, Fla., had been held at the Polk County Jail in Bartow, Fla., since April 1 on unrelated charges, said Sonya Dodds, spokeswoman for the Polk County Sheriff's Department.

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The Hagerstown arrest warrant for first-degree murder and related charges detained Johnson in that Florida jail until Detective Mark Renner flew down on a Maryland State Police aircraft and picked him up.

Bond was denied Wednesday. Johnson appeared before Washington County District Judge Ralph France on Thursday and bond again was denied, according to court records.

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

Mackason was shot in the forehead and his body left on the street, police said.

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

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, police said.

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

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