Sturgis man found guilty of assualt in Cass County Court

Published 9:45 am Friday, March 8, 2019

CASSOPOLIS — Testimony of a jealousy-motivated attack and a knife embedded in a victim’s back was enough for a Cass County jury to find 42-year-old Michael Johnson guilty of two felony assault charges.

The 12-person jury returned guilty verdicts of assault with intent to do great bodily harm and felonious assault against the Sturgis man late Wednesday afternoon.

Pictures taken at the scene and presented at trial revealed that when an ambulance and police arrived, the knife remained lodged at the base of the victim’s spine.

The medical expert who attended to the victim, who is of Vandalia, testified that he had to use pliers to extract the knife. Two other stab wounds to the assault victim’s upper back were also noted.

The 51-year old victim explained to the jury the details of the attack from the back.

Based on evidence shared at trial, Cass County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Tiffiny Vohwinkle argued that jealousy motivated the defendant’s injury of the victim. Specifically, testimony revealed that the defendant had admitted to an acquaintance that he was romantically involved with a family member.

Witnesses also indicated from the stand that the victim had recently fathered a child with the same woman, and was becoming involved in the child’s life in an effort to ensure the infant received proper care. The defendant then visited the victim’s house and effectuated the injuries.

The jury found the defendant not guilty of a third count of assault with intent to murder.

Because defendant Johnson has two other felony convictions, including criminal sexual conduct in the second degree and failing to register as a sex offender, he now faces 20 years on the great bodily harm conviction and eight years on the felonious assault conviction.

Sentencing is set in front of Circuit Judge Mark Herman at 8:30 a.m. April 5.