Domestic violence case draws 20-year sentence

news_court_greenBy Lena Mitchell

Daily Journal Corinth Bureau

CORINTH – The first man convicted of domestic violence by strangulation in the district drew the maximum sentence in Alcorn County Circuit Court on Friday.

James Johnson, 54, was sentenced by Judge Jim Pounds to 20 years in prison, 10 years suspended and 10 years to serve. He also will be subject to five years post-release supervision.

Johnson was convicted Tuesday after a jury trial on a felony domestic violence charge, the first such conviction in the First Judicial District, and only the second case tried under the law in Mississippi.

He also must pay $200 for the district attorney’s investigator, $200 to the Corinth Police Department, $100 to the Crime Victim Compensation Fund and a $4,000 fine that includes attorney fees.

The sentence for aggravated domestic violence is two to 20 years, Pounds said, before he listened to statements by the victim, Johnson’s ex-wife, and supporters of the defendant. Johnson did not make a statement.

Pounds said his decision would not make either side happy, either because he did not impose the maximum incarceration period or did not show leniency.

Pounds said he took into consideration the fact that Johnson had not shown any remorse in his testimony or offered any apology for his actions, saying how fortunate it was the injuries did not result in death.

Also, Pounds said, Johnson has had previous incidents of violence against women, including his own daughter, and although he completed an anger management program, the incident that led to his conviction happened less than two months after completion of that program.

Johnson was arrested Dec. 3, 2012, at his home after the Corinth Police Department received a call from his ex-wife reporting a domestic assault earlier in the day, said Corinth police investigator Heather Glass. Police arrived and observed injuries on his ex-wife’s neck that included red marks along both sides of her neck, scratches on her neck and face, bruises and swelling around her eyes, injuries consistent with strangulation, Glass said.

Until the law was changed in 2010, strangulation in a domestic violence assault was a misdemeanor.

lena.mitchell@journalinc.com