DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Jurors in Dallas on Tuesday sentenced a former Farmers Branch police officer to 10 years in prison for shooting and killing a teenager while he was off-duty.
Ken Johnson faced up to life in prison for the March 2016 murder of Jose Cruz.
Johnson was also sentenced to 10 years of probation for shooting and wounding another teen, Edgar Rodriguez.
“Although not in uniform, Ken Johnson took an oath to protect and serve. On that day in March 2016, Mr. Johnson violated that oath by shooting two teenagers, killing one of them. I want to thank the jury for their service and for their open-mindedness to the severity of the crime and we respect their decision,” said Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson. “We are grateful for the sacrifices our law enforcement officers have made by choosing this noble profession. But it is important to remember, when an officer commits a crime, he too has to be held responsible for his actions. The criminal justice system must be blind to her defendants. We will continue to pray for Mr. Cruz’s family and Mr. Rodriguez and his family. We are also praying for Mr. Johnson and his family as well. We hope that this outcome is another step towards healing for everyone involved.”
Jurors heard emotional testimony on Monday, including Cruz’s mother explaining how her world changed after her son was killed. The victim’s family and friends have been in the courtroom throughout the trial.
Johnson himself even took the stand for the first time on Monday, sharing what went through his mind on that evening nearly two years ago. He expressed remorse, and explained that he was angry when he caught two teens — including Cruz — stealing seats out of a vehicle.
The former police officer insisted that he only fired shots out of fear for his life.
Members of Jose Cruz’s family embraced outside the courtroom after the sentencing.