YORK — In her time behind bars, Alicia Johnson accused of fatally stabbing a man with a pair of scissors and then leaving his naked, bloodied body in the breezeway of a Rock Hill apartment has continued her education, attends Bible study and is a regular at prison-run Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, she said in court Tuesday.
A ruling by a Circuit Court judge will allow her to continue her rehab in jail for the next four years.
Johnson pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter after police say she stabbed 54-year-old Anthony Davis her friend to death three months ago when he assaulted her after demanding sexual favors in return for the last morsel of crack cocaine they both had been using.
Through tears, Johnson asked Circuit Court Judge Michael Nettles for leniency, insisting, He was my friend. He was my friend.
Nettles sentenced Johnson, 40, to four years in prison with credit for the 104 days shes served. Shell also undergo drug treatments while incarcerated, Nettles decided.
During a preliminary hearing last month, a magistrate ruled that prosecutors didnt have enough probable cause to proceed with murder charges against Johnson. Her charge was changed to voluntary manslaughter, which carries a two to 30 years in prison sentence.
Before the judge handed down his sentence Tuesday, Chris Epting, the assistant 16th Circuit solicitor prosecuting Johnson, laid out details of the case, explaining that Johnson confessed to police that she stabbed Davis at Arborwood Park apartments after he beat her when she stalled having sex with him.
Epting asked Nettles to give Johnson 10 years in prison, admitting that if the case had gone to trial, the evidence presented might have swayed a jury to acquit her.
Asking that Nettles consider giving Johnson the minimum two years, York County Public Defender B.J. Barrowclough detailed Johnsons difficult upbringing in life before she came to Rock Hill.
Raised in New York, Johnson lived with a crack-addicted mother and was frequently raped by family members, one of whom impregnated her, Barrowclough said. Because of genetic difficulties, the baby never developed a skull, resulting in an eventual miscarriage.
She was caught in the crossfire of a gang shootout and shot four times, including once in the head. The bullet, Barrowclough said, is still inside Johnsons head and could have caused her brain damage if it dislodged during Davis attack.
Johnson moved to Fort Mill, where she raised her two children, a son, now 21, and a daughter, now 18. She worked in York, but was eventually laid off from her job. She sunk into depression and began using drugs again.
Shes like the family clown. This right here is not Alicia, said Lynne Elting, Johnsons aunt. Whatever happened was the drugs and alcohol. The Alicia I helped raise ... wouldnt hurt anyone.
Naomi Kiser, Johnsons friend, said Johnson helped care for Kisers aging family members.
I just thank God for her. Shes a loving, kindhearted person, Kiser said. She made a mistake.
According to pictures from Davis autopsy, the deep fatal stab wound was closer to the front of Davis chest and not near his arms, said Deputy 16th Circuit Solicitor Willy Thompson.
It would take a great deal of pressure to insert the scissors that far into Davis, Thompson said before suggesting that Johnson might have been on top of Davis when she made the fatal blow.
Barrowclough fired back, countering that Johnsons injuries, a busted lip, cuts on her hands and scratches on her face, were consistent with someone who had been attacked.
She did ... reach for those scissors because she was in fear, he said.
Johnsons criminal history includes three years in a New York prison for shooting a woman during an argument over a man, a subsequent petty larceny and two York County drug-related charges.
Jonathan McFadden 803-329-4082