I-35 rock thrower, Pat Johnson, accepts plea deal

Pat Johnson was bought to court Thursday in a wheel chair. That mode of transportation was the only thing defense attorney Michael Watson was sure of until his client had this to say. "So I don't have a problem pleading guilty to these cases, I  told Mr Watson, I threw the rocks but I don't know if I was in my right mind when I threw the rocks," said Johnson.

Those words did provide some relief for James Joseph.

He is one of several drivers hit by rocks while driving on the lower deck of I-35.

"It's just a sense of relief that all of the pieces of the puzzle have been finally put together, like we knew that they were, and its just a big sense of relief that we can move on," said Joseph.

Pat Johnson is charged with nearly a dozen assault charges involving rocks thrown at vehicles on I-35. The incidents left one driver, Kenneth Johnson, with a brain injury. Several others were also hurt and at one point police closed off access to the lower deck of the interstate.

"I wasn't the real Pat Johnson out there doing that, no," said Johnson.

Johnson told Judge David Crain that he has the AIDS virus and it altered his mental condition.  Because of that Johnson asked prosecution to reduce the 40 year plea deal down to 30 years.

"So if Miss Booker wants to give me a longer sentence, I'm going to die already ma'am, you know you can kill a person once and then you want to kill him again." The prosecutors did not back off the 40 years.

Johnson's impromptu courtroom negotiation briefly derailed the plea deal. He indicated his admission was motivated only to get better medical care in prison.

"Now that was just a side benefit that he would in his mind receive better treatment and that may have helped him make the decision but ultimately he made the decision because he in fact threw those rocks," said defense attorney Michael Watson.

When it came time to formally accept the plea deal, Johnson told the judge he was pleading guilty because he was guilty. In an attempt to explain his actions, Johnson told the judge he threw some rocks to lash out at drunk drivers, "But then again there were never ever any intentions to hurt anyone."

That excuse included Kenneth Johnson, who Pat Johnson said he takes responsibility for. But he also claimed the rock in that case was thrown by a passenger in his truck.

The 40 year sentence will go along with the 99 year sentence Johnson is already serving.

In September, Johnson was convicted on a sex abuse charge.

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