Sunday, December 24, 2000

Man pleads guilty to murdering his sister in 1990

The Associated Press

        AKRON — A Cuyahoga Falls man who successfully appealed his 1991 conviction for killing his sister has pleaded guilty to the crime.

        Michael Johnson, 42, pleaded guilty last week to murder and was sentenced to 15 years to life. He avoided the death sentence when he appealed his initial conviction.

        The state adult parole board says Mr. Johnson could have his first status hearing as early as next December since he has been given credit for already serving 10 years and 241 days in prison while awaiting a retrial.

        Mr. Johnson killed Susan Brunst, 36, a mother of two, on June 2, 1990, and dumped her nude body in a patch of woods.

        Ms. Brunst had told family members Mr. Johnson tried to rape her six months earlier, which angered Mr. Johnson. Family members said he also was angry that she told his new female friend about his 1984 second-degree murder conviction in Florida.

        A new trial was ordered by the Ohio Supreme Court, which ruled the trial judge allowed prosecutors to use inadmissible evidence.

        They also ruled it was improper to sentence Mr. Johnson to death because local authorities used his murder conviction in Florida as the basis of obtaining the capital indictment and verdict.


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