Deputy Mario Johnson stood at the Williamson County Justice Center Tuesday morning with his friends, family and his lawyer. While he didn't speak his attorney, George Lobb, told reporters the former navy medic and combat veteran is not an abusive boyfriend, despite what his mug shot may imply.
"This case is about dishonesty, and tis about victims, and if dishonesty was dirt, the statements made by this so called victim, Kethy, would cover about 10 acres."
Johnson was hired as a deputy earlier this year.
Before that job he was a corrections officer in the Williamson County Jail. He was placed on Administrative Leave after a fellow deputy was sent to his North Austin apartment complex earlier this month. It was in response to a tip that Johnson had a violent altercation with his live in girlfriend.
According to the felony complaint, Johnson started an argument with Kethy Granado after she returned home in the early morning hours of May 1st. She told the deputy the situation inside their apartment escalated when she stepped in dog feces, left by their pet. She whipped it off her foot and said she slapped Johnson with the same hand after he had pushed her. Lobb claims the story is made up because his client recently passed a lie detector test.
"And she is using the criminal justice system to get revenge against my client,” said Lobb.
During the argument Granado claims Johnson forced her to the ground, "using defensive moves to control her, moves he learned in the academy." once down- she claims, "Mario placed his knee on her chest to keep her down ... she could not breath ... this went on for approximately two minutes."
In the court document- the deputy noted he didn't find any marks on her chest, but he did notice bruising on her arms, hand and neck. But Lobb argues Granado was the aggressor because Johnson was trying to end their nine-year relationship.
"He never strangled her, she came after him,” said Lobb.
Granado admitted she grabbed a hammer, but in a follow up interview with investigators, she also accused Johnson of pulling his handgun. Garnado claims Johnson warned her he’d be justified in shooting and that he would “get away with it.” Johnson denies that happened.
He's legal team is planning a civil lawsuit against his ex-girlfriend- but say that will come later. The immediate focus is now on trying to convince prosecutors to drop the charge against him or allow him to provide testimony when the case goes before a Grand Jury.