Request for sentence reduction denied

December 05, 1997

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Jefferson County Circuit Judge Christopher C. Wilkes denied kidnapper Mark Johnson's request to reduce his sentence in an order filed Wednesday.

Johnson had sought to have his sentence reduced, arguing in court and in his motion that he should not have been convicted of kidnapping because he thought he had killed a Gaithersburg, Md., man and was hauling his body in the trunk.

Johnson was sentenced on July 14 to mandatory life in prison with no chance for parole.

Wilkes also sentenced Johnson to an additional five to 30 years in prison for attempted first-degree murder, bringing stolen property into the state, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, conspiracy to attempt first-degree murder and conspiracy to bring stolen property into the state.

In his order, Wilkes said Johnson is in need of correctional treatment and that there is a "substantial risk" that Johnson would commit another crime if he was released.


Johnson had said he was high on crack cocaine when he attacked Donald Milligan, 50, on Aug. 2, 1996.

He later moved Milligan to the car's trunk and drove around with him there while he spent the night looking for more crack cocaine to buy, according to testimony at the trial.

He threw Milligan into the Shenandoah River, according to testimony. Milligan, fearing for his life, said he played dead as his body was thrown in, not knowing if he was going to survive the fall, according to testimony.

- Clyde Ford

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