PRINCETON, WV (WVNS) — A jury found a Princeton man guilty on all charges stemming from a July 2019 break-in. 47-year-old Jerry Hedrick Johnson was convicted on charges of burglary, petit larceny, and destruction of property on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019.
On July 10, 2019, Mercer County dispatchers received a 911 call from a home on Jennings Street in Princeton. The caller, a 15-year-old boy, said a stranger broke into the home. During the trial, the boy testified that the intruder, identified as Johnson, was armed with an ice pick and went from room to room.
After arriving at the home, a West Virginia State trooper discovered the glass on the front door broken and later found Johnson inside the home holding the ice pick and alcohol. In his testimony, the trooper said Johnson behaved in an erratic manner and appeared to be under the influence of drugs. When taken into custody, Johnson reportedly pocketed the ice pick after being ordered to drop it, telling the trooper he entered the home to “kill his brother to stop him from killing any more people.”
During the trial, the defense called Eric. Walls, M.A., a licensed psychologist who examined Johnson. According to court documents, Walls said Johnson would have had difficulty forming criminal intent due to “drug-induced psychosis,” even though Johnson was found competent to stand trial.
When cross examined by Mercer County Prosecutor George Sitler, Walls testified that psychiatric treatment records included findings that Johnson expressed intent to kill.
After deliberating for five minutes, the jury unanimously reached a guilty verdict, convicting Johnson on all charges.
Johnson’s sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 14, 2020 at 2 p.m. He faces a maximum prison sentence of 17 years.