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Eric Johnson takes responsibility in Mutschlechner shooting

Eric Johnson takes responsibility in Mutschlechner shooting

Denton PD spokesman Shane Kizer updates media on the newest details surrounding the New Years Eve shooting that killed Sara Mutschlechner during a press conference at the Denton Police Department Training Facility on Tuesday, December 5, 2015. Photo by Kristen Watson/Staff Photographer

Eric Johnson takes responsibility in Mutschlechner shooting
January 04
13:57 2016

Dalton LaFerney | @daltonlaferney

Sarah Lagro | @Lagroski

Friday, Jan. 8:

The man arrested for murder spoke with police investigators and admitted “his responsibility in the shooting” death of Sara Mutschlechner, the Denton police said.

Eric Johnson is currently locked up in the Yuma County Detention Center in Yuma, Arizona.

Police said Johnson, who was dishonorably discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps Friday, wished for them to relay his sympathies to Mutschlechner’s family and sorority sisters.

Moreover, Johnson has been cleared for extradition and will be transported back to Denton within the next 10 days, the police said, to answer for the first degree murder he’s alleged to have committed.

Denton authorities said Johnson was driving a grey Honda Pilot, which was recovered by police. Police said the investigation has led to the discovery of a handgun they believe to be the weapon used to shoot Mutschlechner. Police said forensic analysis will have to confirm whether the firearm was used in the offense.

Thursday, Jan. 7:

Eric Johnson, the man arrested for murder in the New Year’s shooting death of Sara Mutschlechner, took the first step back to Texas Thursday by waiving extradition before a Yuma Justice Court judge.

Johnson is scheduled for another court appearance Monday morning, but could be back in Texas next week. Denton prosecutors will able to take Johnson after court Monday.

Eric Jamal Johnson

Eric Jamal Johnson

Denton authorities said Johnson was driving the grey SUV, which was recovered by police, and fired two shots into Mutschlechner’s car with a handgun. One bullet hit her in the head, ultimately killing the 20-year-old UNT sorority sister hours later.

Police pointed to social media as key in catching up to Johnson, 20. His Twitter handle, according to the police and other users, is @SantanaSage. On it, it was tweeted, “I make it a point to treat people better than they treat me. until I feel I’m bein’ mistreated, then obviously it’s the reverse effect.” Later in the feed, in July 2015: “when I disagree too heavily I won’t even try to bring in my opinion. kuz no energy for pointless opinion based arguments.”

Wednesday, Jan. 6:

Police said they have interviewed the other men who were in the SUV with 20-year-old Eric Johnson, but have charged only Johnson for the murder of Sara Mutschlechner.

The others were questioned as witnesses.

“Investigators feel confident that [Johnson] was the lone shooter,” Denton police spokesman Shane Kizer wrote in a press release.

Johnson is still locked up in Yuma, Arizona, where some Denton investigators  have gone to follow leads.

Tuesday, Jan. 5:

Eric Jamal Johnson, 20, remains in U.S. Marshal custody, and police said Tuesday that witnesses allege Johnson held the weapon which was fired toward a car driven by Sara Mutschlechner, who was shot and killed Friday morning. Police said they have not recovered the weapon, described as a black semi-automatic handgun.

The U.S. Marine Corps said Johnson is a corporal in Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One. Johnson was arrested at an air station in Yuma, where he was stationed.

Police do not know much more about Johnson. The authorities identified Johnson by the pseudonym “SantanaSage” and Denton police spokesman Shane Kiser said Johnson has ties to the Denton area, but did not say where he is from.

Kiser said the men in the SUV made “comments of sexual nature” to Mutschlechner and another female passenger, which started the alleged verbal confrontation between the men riding with Johnson and those riding with Mutschlechner.

An affidavit reports the men driving the SUV pulled to the right side of Mutschlechner’s car, shouted they wanted to “F—” the women in the car. One passenger, named Cori in the affidavit, responded “that he didn’t appreciate their comments and one of the males in the [SUV] back seat told [Cori] he would ‘beat his ass.'”

The driver of the SUV, according to the affidavit, stated, “I’ll shoot your ass.”

At least two of men in the SUV — which was recovered by police Tuesday and turned out to be a grey Honda Pilot, not a Lexus or Toyota — were at a New Year’s Eve party attended by Mutschlechner and her passengers. Kiser said it is unclear whether the men or Mutschlechner’s group had any interaction at the party.

“We have a lot more to do,” Kiser said, saying he would not speculate whether more arrests would be made in the investigation.

Denton police held a press conference at 1 p.m. Tuesday, confirming details in the case of Sara Mutschlechner.

Click here to watch the press conference.

Tuesday morning:

Denton police said Tuesday morning that Eric Jamal Johnson was arrested by U.S. Marshals in Yuma, Arizona, in connection with the shooting death of Sara Mutschlechner Friday morning.

The investigation is still underway in Denton, according to a press release. The Denton Police Department will have a news conference at 1 p.m. Tuesday to provide more details.

Monday, Jan. 4:

Denton police spokesman Shane Kizer said Monday police no longer knew the color, make or model of the SUV from which witnesses said shots rang following an apparent argument with Mutschlechner’s passengers.

Original reports said the SUV was either a dark Lexus or Toyota SUV. Witnesses told police that about five or six men filled the SUV.

Mutschlechner, who is said to have been driving a car full of people home Sunday morning, was shot in the head about 2 a.m., causing her to hit another vehicle before crashing into a utility pole. She died hours later at Denton Regional Medical Center.

Police are investigating a party that went down at Crisoforo Drive in Denton, where police said witnesses allege some of the men in the SUV were celebrating.

According to the police, “words were exchanged between the occupants of the SUV and the occupants in the victim’s vehicle” before a person fired multiple shots at Mutschlechner’s car.

Featured Image: A girl looks at her candle as friends of Sara Mutschlechner share memories of her during the candlelight vigil held by Zeta Tau Alpha.  Kristen Watson | DRC

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