1. Archive


One of the shooters who killed a teacher and four students at a school a decade ago faces two new felony charges accusing him of stealing a debit card as he awaited sentencing in a separate case.

A federal jury convicted Mitchell Johnson, 23, on a weapons charge in January. On Feb. 2, Bentonville police arrested Johnson after officers said they found a small amount of marijuana in his possession while he worked as a clerk at a gas station.

Charges filed Wednesday allege that Johnson took a debit card left by a customer. He faces felony charges of theft and identity fraud that could bring up to 30 years in prison. Among other things, a police affidavit said, the card was used for purchases at the gas station.

In 1998, Johnson, then 13, and Andrew Golden, then 11, opened fire at Jonesboro's Westside Middle School, killing an English teacher and four students ages 11 and 12. Ten other people were wounded. It was one of a series of school shootings that shocked the nation around that time, including the Columbine massacre in Colorado the following year.

At the time of the Jonesboro shooting, Arkansas had the means to hold Johnson and Golden only until age 18. Federal prosecutors secured convictions on weapons charges that kept them in prison until age 21.

In January 2007, deputies said they found marijuana in Johnson's pocket during a traffic stop. Federal prosecutors took over the case under a law barring gun ownership by users of a controlled substance. He was convicted in that case last month and faces up to 10 years in prison. Bail was revoked after his February arrest, and he remains in the Benton County Jail.