North Texas Daily

Johnson shows remorse during testimony for killing UNT student

Johnson shows remorse during testimony for killing UNT student

Eric Jamal Johnson

Johnson shows remorse during testimony for killing UNT student
July 28
16:18 2017

Eric Johnson, the man standing trial for the murder of UNT student Sara Mutschlechner, took the stand Thursday and Friday as he was questioned by both his defense and state prosecutors.

Johnson recounted his version of events of the New Year’s Day shooting in a somber testimony.

“I never decided to shoot and kill anyone,” Johnson said during his testimony Friday. “I’m not proud of my actions. I feel very bad about what happened. If I could, I would take it back instantly, but I know I can’t.”

The shooting took place early morning Jan 1, 2016, after Johnson’s and Mutschlechner’s vehicles were stopped next to each other at a stoplight. The two groups began arguing, and Johnson ultimately fired two shots at Mutschlechner’s vehicle – one of which had struck Mutschlechner.

Johnson said he was only “trying to scare them off,” and that he had tried to shoot above Mutschlechner’s vehicle. Johnson said he saw one of the passengers in Mutschlechner’s vehicle “leaning over,” and was concerned they might be reaching for a firearm.

Johnson said Cory Perry, one of the Mutschlechner’s friends riding with her that night, had used racial and homophobic slurs during the argument. Johnson said he told Perry to “chill out,” and that Perry had said “do you want to get shot?”

“That’s when I pulled out my pistol and displayed it,” Johnson said. “I was trying to diffuse the situation.”

Testimony from Alexis Mueller and Cory Perry, passengers in Mutschlechner’s vehicle that night, denied there were any racist or homophobic remarks made.

Earlier that night, Johnson had met Mutschlechner at a party.

“We only spoke shortly,” Johnson said. “She seemed like a nice girl.”

Johnson said he had taken “two or three” Xanax that night, and that it did have an effect on him. Xanax is a prescription drug used to treat anxiety, but has been known to be used recreationally in combination with alcohol consumption.

Johnson’s arrest was made in large part due to social media. After Johnson was connected to the crime, he was interrogated at the military base he was stationed in Yuma, Arizona. Johnson was an active-duty Marine at the time of the shooting.

Johnson first denied any connections, but later admitted to being the shooter to detectives. Police discovered multiple Google searches for “shooting in Denton” that were made Jan 1, the day of the shooting, after Johnson’s phone was seized.

During testimony Chief Deputy Medical Examiner Marc Krouse said Mutschlechner’s case was ruled a homicide after the autopsy and showed no detectable alcohol in Mutschlechner’s system at the time of her death.

Testimony ended Friday, with Jury deliberations set to go underway Monday.

This story is still developing.

Featured Image: Eric Johnson | File

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Alexander Willis

Alexander Willis

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