The final defendant in the kidnapping and murder of Josh Bailey in 2008 tearfully apologized for his actions during his sentencing hearing Monday in Orange County Superior Court.
Jack Johnson II, 25, was sentenced to 22 years and two months to 28 years and two months for his role Bailey’s death.
Johnson was one of the three defendants who was involved in every aspect of the assault, kidnapping and murder of Bailey, as well as involved in destroying evidence and digging up and reburying Bailey’s body.
But he also was a key witnesses against the other defendants, telling investigators what happened and telling the jury during two trials about how the group came to believe that Bailey was a snitch and their decision to execute him.
Johnson apologized to his own family and to Bailey’s family.
He should have protected Bailey, but he was a coward, he said.
“I hurt,” he said. “I really do hurt, and I’m sorry. I was wrong, and I was stupid. I deserve whatever punishment I get. I won’t turn my face away from it.”
During the sentencing hearing, Steve Bailey read a statement, saying that he and his wife adopted Josh Bailey and his two brothers when Josh was 7 years old. He suffered from mental health issues as a result of being exposed to drugs and alcohol in his mother’s womb. He struggled at times but was trying to move forward with his life when he got mixed up with the people who killed him, Steve Bailey said.
“We will never get over this,” he said.
He told the judge that Jack Johnson had known his son since they were children in school and church together. “What kind of person can do this? he asked.
Orange-Chatham District Attorney Jim Woodall told Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour that Jack Johnson was one of the first of the defendants to tell the complete story of what happened and that he met the obligations of his plea agreement to testify truthfully against the other co-defendants.
Yet he also was the one that tied Bailey’s wrists together with duct tape before they drove him to woods northwest of Carrboro and he carried a shovel into the woods to bury Bailey after he was shot.
Baddour gave Johnson the maximum sentence he could under the plea agreement.
Nearly six years
Josh Bailey was murdered July 29, 2008, and it took nearly six years for all the main defendants to have their cases resolved.
• Brian Gregory Minton, 24, the reported ringleader of the group, was found guilty of first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping and conspiracy to commit kidnapping in June 2012 and was sentenced to life in prison plus approximately 32 years.
• Jacob Alexander Maxwell, 24, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping and conspiracy to commit kidnapping in January 2013 and was sentenced to approximately 38 years in prison.
• Brandon Hamilton Greene, 29, was found guilty of first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping and conspiracy to commit kidnapping in May 2014 and was sentenced to life in prison plus eight years.
• Matthew Alan Johnson, 26, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping in December 2012 and was sentenced to approximately 24 to 30 years in prison. Matt Johnson fired the gun that killed Bailey, but according to witnesses, he did so under order of Minton.
• Jack Johnson II, 25, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and conspiracy and was sentenced to 22 to 28 years in prison. He was a key witness against the other defendants.
• Ryan Ladar Davis Lee, 26, who also testified against his co-defendants, pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact to first-degree murder and accessory after the fact to first-degree kidnapping and was sentenced to eight years in prison.
• Brian Minton’s mother, Mishele Minton, 43, who helped her son and the others by arranging for them to rent a truck to move Bailey’s body and buy acid to destroy evidence, pleaded guilty to crimes associated with the murder in December 2013. She was sentenced to one year and four months in prison.
• Minton’s father, Gregory Lee Minton, 47, was sentenced to 60 days in jail and was put on probation for two years for lying to police when they questioned him about the case.
• One other defendant charged with accessory after the fact, Chris Manley, has not had his case resolved yet.