Metro-East News

East St. Louis man found guilty in Easter shooting near Belleville

Randi D. Johnson
Randi D. Johnson

An East St. Louis man accused in an Easter Sunday shooting near Belleville was convicted of two Class X felonies Friday at the end of a four-day trial in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

Randi D. Johnson, 30, was convicted of aggravated battery with a firearm and aggravated discharge of a firearm. He was acquitted of a third charge of attempted aggravated battery by a jury of seven women and five men that convened for four hours before delivering its decision.

Johnson faces between six and 30 years in prison at a Feb. 21 sentencing hearing. He is not eligible for probation. Johnson, who was free after posting $10,000 in bond money, had his bond revoked after the jury reached its decision. He is being held in the St. Clair County Jail.

Johnson turned himself in to the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department hours after a shooting that took place in the 1900 block of Chevy Drive off Green Mount Road near Belleville’s east side on the morning of March 27, 2016.

Prosecutors said Johnson’s acts were premeditated after he went to his girlfriend’s house Easter morning.

“He found a man inside the house and returned 20 minutes later with a gun,” said Assistant State’s Attorney Erin Conner, who was the lead prosecutor in the case for the St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Conner said Johnson was acquitted of a charge involving a man who was inside the house. Johnson was convicted of shooting at a nearby vehicle that had two occupants inside of it. A female inside the vehicle was shot in the thigh, while a man inside the vehicle was hit in the back and had glass in his eye after the shooting, which took place around 9:30 a.m.

Both shooting victims were treated and released from an area hospital on the same day of the shooting. Eleven witnesses took the stand during the prosecution’s case.

Johnson took the stand in his own defense. Andrew Liefer, who represented Johnson, said Johnson acted in self-defense during the incident.

“Randi had come over to pick up his children for Easter Sunday, and then an unknown assailant attacked him,” Liefer said after the trial.

Assistant State’s Attorney Amanda Fischer, who helped prosecute the case, said Johnson gave “inconsistent versions” of what happened. Conner said Johnson went to East St. Louis to retrieve a gun after his first trip to the residence. Police were not able to find the gun used in the incident, Conner said.

Johnson originally was held on $500,000 bail, but had that reduced to $100,000 on April 15. He posted bond shortly after that and had been free until his trial, which started Tuesday.

Don O’Brien: 618-239-2626, @DOBrienBND