Sheriff Johnson’s assailant to get re-trial

By George A. Kunke II


Martin Arthur Jones, the man found guilty of shooting Pacific County Sheriff Scott Johnson, has been granted a new trial, which will start with an entire new process. Jones was granted the new trial on a technical procedural error, a faulty jury selection. The decision was announced by the state court of Appeals Division II June 4.

“It’s pretty unbelievable,” Sheriff Johnson told the Herald Monday morning. “It’s certainly not something I’m looking forward to. No victim wants to go through this again. It certainly had kept me compassionate to crime victims. I’m concerned about what the cost to the county will bare if he chooses a public defender. It could be a very expensive trial.

“I’m anxious to get it over,” Johnson said. “It could easily be a year and half from here. A case that complex for whoever takes it over will have to go over volumes and volumes of evidence to study. It will be something to watch here for a while.

“No matter how minor, we don’t want anyone to have the perception that this was an unfair trial. I want to make it clear that I don’t feel in any way that he had an unfair trial.”

The re-trial starts everything from square one, which could cause implications for both sides.

“Different things could be presented or heard,” Johnson said. “Things that were not allowed may be allowed and other new things may be allowed. We’re over three years from the incident. I hoping they could still find everyone who testified.”

It’s anyone’s guess where the re-trial will take place. We don’t know where it will be held. Nobody has any idea at this point; it could be just about any county in Washington. The Jones defense objected to Thurston County (in the first trial).”

Jones, 47, formerly of Seaview, was convicted of first-degree attempted murder and was sentenced to 50 years in prison in 2011. A jury found Jones guilty of the 2010 shooting of Johnson in Long Beach. Johnson was a deputy at the time of the shooting.

Johnson was shot twice in the head Feb.13, 2010 while taking inventory of a vehicle that was about to be towed. Johnson was shot along Highway 103 after Jones walked up to Johnson, said something to Johnson and Hill, then pulled out a small caliber handgun and shot Johnson twice at point blank range, including once in the back of the head. Johnson was preparing a vehicle for towing after another trooper had completed a DUI arrest. It was Jones’ wife (Susan) that was arrested for a DUI.

Jones was given the new trial because Pierce County Superior Court Judge Vicki Hogan had a clerk conduct the drawing to determine alternate jurors during a court recess rather than during open court.

“My understanding is that there is not a uniform standard to do this practice,” Johnson said. “Every judge does it differently. The appeals (court) said it has to be completely in the public’s view. Most everybody was present; the defense, the prosecutor, (but) the public didn’t see it happen. It was not completely in the public’s view.”

Sheriff Johnson termed the re-trial, “frustrating.”  In a prepared statement Johnson said, ‘No victim looks forward to enduring a long and sometimes painful legal process a second time, but I will again assist prosecutors to ensure that Martin Jones spends all or most of his remaining life in prison.”