Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Jared Johns will be sentenced to supervised probation in the BB gun shooting case.
Will be sentenced to supervised probation
By Jon Johnson
SAFFORD – A man who was accused of intentionally shooting his stepchildren with a BB-gun has accepted a guilty plea.
Jared James Johns, 32, of Safford, plead guilty in Graham County Superior Court on Tuesday morning to charges of aggravated assault on a minor – an undesignated Class-6 felony, and assault on a minor – a Class-1 misdemeanor. Johns was originally charged with three counts of aggravated assault on a minor and disorderly conduct/fighting.
According to the plea agreement, Johns is guaranteed supervised probation but still faces up to a year in jail at the discretion of the court.
The charges are in regard to a trip Johns took with his stepchildren to the Gila Box area in which he reportedly intentionally shot them with a BB-gun.
According to a Graham County Sheriff’s Office report, the incident occurred on April 17. The children involved are ages 13, 11, and 10. A 7-year-old who was also present was not shot.
In interviews with the alleged victims, the children advised they were shooting cans filled with dirt when Johns asked to shoot and shot the 10-year-old in the leg – possibly on accident. Afterward, Johns said the BB gun didn’t hurt and proceeded to shoot himself, according to the children.
Johns then shot the 11-year-old in the leg and the 13-year-old began to run and was shot in the leg as well, according to the children’s interviews. The 13-year-old and 11-year-old also advised that Johns told them he was going to shoot them prior to doing so. The deputy noted seeing red welts on the legs of the children where they said they were shot.
During initial police interviews, Johns and his wife both insisted Johns hadn’t shot the children and any injury must have been caused by accident by the children themselves.
In court on Tuesday, however, Johns admitted to the shooting to visiting Greenlee County Superior Court Judge Monica L. Stauffer.
In the plea agreement, Johns could end up with the more serious charge of aggravated assault dismissed. The plea states that if Johns completes the term of supervised probation ordered by the court, the state will dismiss the aggravated assault charge. As part of the plea, sentencing on the aggravated assault charge is waived until “such a time it becomes in the interest of justice to sentence the defendant, or the defendant violates probation.”
Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 1 in front of Judge Stauffer in Graham County Superior Court, beginning at 10 a.m. Johns is guaranteed a supervised probation sentence on the assault charge, however, Judge Stauffer could also sentence him up to one year in jail.