Man could face death penalty in Texarkana, Ark., drug-related home invasion

Justin Damone Johnson

A man accused of wearing a mask when he fatally shot another during a drug-related home invasion in a Texarkana, Ark., apartment complex last year has been charged with capital murder.

Justin Damone Johnson, 28, faces death by lethal injection or life without the possibility of parole if found guilty of capital murder in the death of 22-year-old Travon Staten during a shooting Nov. 15 at the Beacon Point Apartments. Prosecuting Attorney Stephanie Black signed a felony information Thursday formally charging Johnson.

According to a search warrant affidavit for cell phone records, Staten was allegedly selling controlled substances from his apartment and opened the door for a customer shortly before midnight on the day of his death. Several men with masked faces allegedly walked into Staten’s apartment, where he was visiting with friend Rashod Rushing, 28. Staten’s girlfriend and her infant child were present during the shooting but unharmed. Rushing, who allegedly told investigators he dropped to the floor when bullets started whizzing, said he grabbed a pistol as the smoke cleared and went outside. Texarkana, Ark., police spokeswoman Kristi Bennett described the shooting as a “drug-related home invasion,” in earlier press statements.

Rushing allegedly found Justin Bolton, masked and suffering from a gunshot wound, crawling on the ground. Rushing is accused of firing two shots into Bolton that ended his life. Rushing is charged with second degree murder in Bolton’s death in an information signed by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Connie Mitchell in February. He could receive six to 30 years if found guilty.

Johnson was at large for about five months before he was taken into custody by federal marshals.

Johnson has been accused of murder before. Johnson was accused in 2010 by authorities in New Mexico of killing two brothers and critically injuring a woman in a drug related confrontation. He was acquitted of the charges by a New Mexico jury in 2012. He is being held without bail in the Miller County jail on the orders of a Miller County circuit judge.

Johnson is scheduled to appear for arraignment on the capital murder charge before Circuit Judge Kirk Johnson next month.

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