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Man gets 30 years in road rage case

April 17, 2007|by ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN - A Baltimore man convicted in February of attempted second-degree murder in a June 19, 2006, road rage incident on Interstate 70 was ordered Monday to spend 30 years in prison.

Jimmie Lee Johnson, 36, also was convicted of first-degree assault, reckless endangerment, carrying a handgun in a vehicle, use of a handgun during the commission of a violent crime and possession of marijuana.

Washington County Circuit Judge Donald E. Beachley sentenced Johnson to 20 years for the attempted murder conviction, 10 years consecutive for using a handgun during a crime of violence, two years concurrent for transporting a handgun in a vehicle and one year concurrent for possession of marijuana.

Conviction of attempted second-degree murder carries a maximum penalty of 30 years.

The road rage occurred when Johnson, who was driving a Chevrolet Suburban, and Kyle Hitchcock, who was driving a Chrysler PT Cruiser, were eastbound on I-70.

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Johnson fired a 9 mm handgun at Hitchcock's car, according to testimony during the trial. Unloading a 9 mm handgun magazine was a clear case of trying to kill somebody, Assistant State's Attorney Robert Veil said.

During the sentencing hearing Monday, Veil called the case "harrowing." Because Johnson used a handgun and tried to justify his actions when he took the stand during his trial, the case was especially alarming, Veil said.

In his victim-witness statement submitted to the court, Hitchcock asked that Johnson receive the maximum penalty.

Johnson's defense attorney, William R. Buie, mounted a self-defense case during the trial. Johnson testified that Hitchcock had been driving aggressively, made an obscene gesture and directed a racial slur at him.

Buie said Monday that Johnson knew he was not setting a good example for his four children. Johnson asked the court for mercy for their sake.

He also mentioned last week's fatal accident involving road rage on Interstate 270.

"It could have been me, it could have been Kyle," he said.

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