Corrections officer's killers could get new sentences

Officer's family reliving horror from 25 years ago

By Jim Piggott - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Supreme Court ruling on the sentencing of juveniles is forcing the family of a murdered Jacksonville corrections officer to relive a 25-year-old heartache.

Tammy Johnson was shot and killed in 1993 while sitting in her convertible at a Westside bar.

A group of five teenagers rode up on bicycles and tried to rob her and a friend.

Johnson, a highly decorated corrections officer with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, fired her gun, and the teens fired back. Johnson was killed and her friend was injured.

Thomas Thompson, the teen convicted of firing the fatal shot, was just 13 years old at the time.

He cursed at reporters who were filming him as he was taken into the Duval County Jail after his arrest.

FROM THE VAULT: News4Jax coverage of Tammy Johnson case

All five teens involved were sentenced and three, including Thompson, got life in prison without parole.

But Thompson and another one of the boys, Eugene Edwards, were under 18 when they were sentenced. The Supreme Court ruling means their life without parole punishments should be reconsidered.

Johnson's family said that possibility is just too much to take.

“We have to sit through that again and watch all of that and relive it,” Johnson's sister, Kim Torres, said. “It’s almost like having to relive this, and it’s not fair. We need peace.”

Johnson's mother said it's still hard for her to believe her daughter's killers could get new sentences.

“Personally, I think it’s ridiculous,” Ann Johnson said. “They were sentenced for the crime they committed, and why they can’t serve their time out is beyond me. I’m not happy about it, but I guess it’s something we’ve got to deal with.”

The third teen sentenced to life without parole was 18 years old at the time and therefore not entitled to a resentencing hearing under the Supreme Court's ruling.

The two others convicted in the case were released after serving time. One of them, Thomas McMullen, was shot and killed by police in 2012 when he refused orders to come out of a building, after another shooting. 

Attorneys for those convicted in Tammy Johnson's murder declined to comment Tuesday.

Resentencing hearings for Thompson and Edwards had been set for next week, but the State Attorney's Office said those hearings are likely going to be rescheduled.

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