Man pleads guilty in deadly Jacksonville shooting as trial is about to begin

Mack Johnson file photo. (Booking photo from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A jury was seated Monday in the trial for a man accused in the January 2021 shooting death of a 52-year-old man at a Northside Jacksonville gas station.

But when all parties returned to court for opening statements, Mack Johnson III pleaded guilty to manslaughter with a firearm, court documents show.

Johnson had previously been charged with second-degree murder in the death of Rodney Braswell, where investigators said the two men had gotten into an argument over a pickup truck.

According to court documents, Braswell arrived at the gas station in a red Chevy Silverado pickup truck that was not his. Johnson was already at the gas station in a black Cadillac SUV, and he was with the woman who owned the pickup truck, documents show.

Investigators determined she told Braswell that she wanted the truck back because Johnson needed it to get to work the next morning. Johnson and Braswell got into a physical altercation, and investigators said Johnson shot him and drove off in the pickup truck.

Court documents show the woman followed in the SUV and later told police that Johnson wanted to turn himself in.

Johnson has a sentencing hearing in May.