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Plea hearing set in Pa. homicide case

January 01, 2009|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- A Chambersburg man charged with criminal homicide in the Feb. 1 shooting of another borough man is scheduled for a plea hearing Jan. 15.

Juan R. Johnson, 24, of no fixed address, also is charged by the Chambersburg Police Department with robbery and theft in the death of 24-year-old Gregory Street. Johnson was scheduled to appear Wednesday in Franklin County Court for mandatory arraignment in the case.

"A negotiated plea agreement has been reached between the Commonwealth and the defendant," according to a motion to schedule the hearing filed by Assistant District Attorney Jeremiah Zook. The motion was granted by Judge Richard Walsh.

"I can't comment on an ongoing criminal case," Zook said this week when asked about the motion. Public Defender Michael Toms, whose office is representing Johnson, was not in Wednesday.

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Johnson was captured in March in Philadelphia and brought back to Chambersburg to face charges that he shot Street several times in the head as Street sat in the passenger seat of a vehicle owned by his girlfriend, Shelby Flythe, police said. Flythe testified at Johnson's July preliminary hearing that Johnson was sitting in the back seat when she stopped at her East Washington Street home to use the bathroom.

Flythe testified that while she was in her house, she heard gunshots. Another witness testified to hearing the shots and seeing Johnson next to the vehicle with Street slumped over in the passenger's seat with a head wound.

Flythe testified she and Street picked up Johnson at a bar earlier in the day and that the three made several stops before going to her home. Flythe testified she saw her vehicle being driven away after the shooting.

Street's body was found on the morning of Feb. 2 in Harrisburg, Pa., still in the passenger seat of the 2004 Ford Excursion, police said.

In August, the District Attorney's Office filed a notice of aggravating circumstances in the case, a legal requirement to seek the death penalty in Pennsylvania. That first would require a first-degree murder conviction, followed by a penalty phase in a trial, under state law.

A first-degree murder conviction would result in a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole in Pennsylvania.

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