A Hereford man involved in an April 2020 non-injury shooting he contends was self-defense was sentenced Monday to three years of probation after accepting a plea bargain for a conviction on one felony count of aggravated assault.
Trevor Ryan Johnson’s plea deal involved a no-contest plea, meaning he does not admit guilt but does not challenge the criminal conviction. At the time of the April 15, 2020, he was friends with the woman listed as the victim of the assault; in fact, as of last week the two were now romantically involved, according to court documents.
Johnson, who turns 31 next week, told investigators he was trying to help the woman beat a drug addiction and break away from an abusive relationship when he drove her to the Hereford home she shared with a boyfriend. He also told them he was fearful of the boyfriend’s reaction, so Johnson brought along two firearms -a handgun and a shotgun- which he legally owned.
Once outside the boyfriend’s home, the woman began to yell at Johnson because he had taken away her drugs.
“Mr. Johnson refuses to return her drugs because he realized as long as she is using, she won’t be able to make healthy and safe decisions,” according to a pre-sentence memorandum. “She is angry and yelling at him for him to return her drugs. He has decided he isn’t going to condone the addiction anymore and had left the drugs at his house to dispose of later.”
The situation escalated inside the car as the woman became more upset, so Johnson pushed her and her belongings out the passenger door. That act was charged in a grand jury indictment as aggravated assault for placing the woman “in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury” while her capacity to resist was impaired.
At that point the boyfriend -alerted by the woman’s screams- ran from his residence toward Johnson and the car. What happened next differs depending on who is asked, but physical evidence recovered by detectives shows at least two rounds were fired from Johnson’s shotgun and several rounds were discharged from his handgun. No one was injured but a vehicle and a residential outbuilding were damaged.
Johnson’s shotgun was later found hidden in the boyfriend’s garage, even though the boyfriend told deputies Johnson left with both guns. It’s unclear whether fingerprint and DNA testing was conducted on the shotgun, which Johnson says the boyfriend grabbed and fired as the men scuffled at the car.
The boyfriend has multiple felony convictions resulting in various prison sentences and therefore is not allowed to possess, use, or control a firearm. He is headed back to the Arizona Department of Corrections next month for a conviction involving false imprisonment in an unrelated incident.
Johnson was initially indicted on six felonies but his attorney Joshua Jones argued during plea negotiations that the boyfriend’s statement did not match the physical evidence. Judge Tim Dickerson of the Cochise County Superior Court was also presented with arguments from Jones prior to Monday’s sentencing hearing that Johnson cooperated with detectives throughout the investigation.
Court records show Johnson had a civilian job with security clearance at Fort Huachuca which he lost due to his arrest. He can ask for the conviction to be designated as a Class 1 misdemeanor upon successful completion of probation.