space
space
Peshtigo Times
space
space
space
Perspectives
* From Our Readers
space
space
Sports Shorts
* Bulldogs Get On Winning Track With Victory Over Northern Elite
* Gillett Leads Area Teams at Irish Invitational
* Peshtigo Stands Tall Over Marinette/Menominee in Tri-City Triangular
* Marinette Girls Capture Oconto Falls Invitational
* Stegeman Leads Rest of The Area Field in Voting

space
Peshtigo Fire
space
e-Edition
Now Available
For more information
click here
dot
THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
space
dot
space

Shooter Faces Three Murder Counts; Held On $3 Million Bail

Issue Date: August 13, 2008

Prelim Set

For Aug. 20


Preliminary Examination for multiple murder suspect Scott F. Johnson, 38, of 521 Hemlock Street, Kingsford, Mich. has been set for 1 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 20 before Judge Tim Duket in Marinette County Circuit Court, Branch II. Johnson faces three counts of First Degree Intentional Homicide in the deaths of three Michigan teenagers who were shot Thursday evening, July 31 at a popular swimming spot near a railroad bridge over the Menominee River about three miles west of Niagara.

The victims were Bryan Mort, 19, of Iron Mountain, Mich., who died on the Michigan side of the river; Tiffany Ann Polson, 17, of Vulcan, Mich., and Anthony David Spigarelli, 18, of Iron Mountain, whose bodies were found on the Wisconsin side. A fourth victim, Daniel Louis Gordon, 20, of Kingsford, is reportedly recovering after being hospitalized for treatment of shrapnel wounds to his back.

Johnson was arrested on Thursday, Aug. 1 following a 16-hour manhunt involving over 100 law enforcement personnel from multiple agencies on the Wisconsin and Michigan sides of the river.

Charges were filed Wednesday, Aug. 6 by Marinette County District Attorney Brent DeBord. DeBord said at a press conference later in the day that the case was clearly in Wisconsin jurisdiction since Johnson did all the shooting from the Wisconsin side of the river.

However, federal prosecution remains a possibility, since the shooting crossed state lines and involved a railroad easement. Wisconsin has no death penalty, so maximum sentence on a Wisconsin conviction would be life in prison on each count. Possible federal charges could involve a death penalty. DeBord reported federal authorities are researching the possibility of federal charges at the request of himself and Dickinson County Prosecutor Christopher Ninomiya.

Meanwhile, Johnson is being held in Marinette County Jail on $3 million cash bond set by Judge Duket at an initial appearance held by video conference Thursday, Aug. 7. DeBord stressed in his news releases that suspects are to be considered innocent until proven guilty.

Johnson was represented at the initial appearance by Attorney Len Kachinsky of Appleton. However, according to a news report, Kachinsky was decertified for failing to provide competent representation while representing a Wisconsin teen in connection with the sexual assault and murder of Teresa Halbach on Oct. 31, 2006, which could mean he would not be allowed to represent clients facing the most serious crimes, including homicide.

Kachinsky had asked for $1 million bond, while DeBord sought $5 million. Duket, in setting the $3 million bond, noted the charges against Johnson are the most serious possible in Wisconsin, and he felt the possibility of life in prison without the possibility of parole, would be a powerful incentive to not be available for trial.

At DeBord’s request, Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General Gary Freyberg ls assisting with the prosecution.

At the Aug. 6 news conference, DeBord released the statement of probable cause prepared by Marinette County Sheriff’s Department Detective Tony O’Neill describing events leading up to Johnson’s arrest and subsequent statements made to investigators by Johnson.

DeBord also asked that news media refrain from contacting families of the victims or an alleged sexual assault victim indirectly connected to the case.

O’Neil’s report states that at approximately 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 31, Marinette County Dispatch Center received a number of emergency calls reporting shots had been fired on the Wisconsin side of the Menominee River near the East Kingsford railway bridge in the Town of Niagara. At least one caller indicated an unknown number of persons had been shot by someone wearing camouflage who had been hiding in the woods on the Wisconsin side of the river across from a popular local swimming area next to the bridge.

Law enforcement officers from multiple jurisdictions, including Marinette County Sheriff’s Department, Dickinson County Sheriff’s Department, Kingsford Public Safety, and City of Niagara Police Department responded. They found two persons dead on the Wisconsin side of the river. Officers were posted near the bodies and remained with them throughout the night.

The shooter could not be located. A perimeter was established to contain the area and prevent the shooter from escaping. A portion of the Town of Niagara north of County Highway N was evacuated. The area remained secure throughout the night of July 31 and into the morning of Aug. 1 as the search continued. Officers stood guard over bodies of the victims.

At about 9 a.m. on the morning of Aug. 1, Johnson, dressed in camouflage and carrying a firearm exited the woods near the railroad crossing on County N near Niagara. The man, later identified as Johnson, complied with directions from authorities and was taken into custody. He admitted to authorities that he was the lone shooter at the railway bridge.

Emergency personnel and law enforcement officers entered the area near the bridge from the Michigan side of the river by crossing the bridge and recovered the bodies of Tiffany Pohlson and Anthony Spigarelli from the Wisconsin side of the river. The body of Bryan Mort had previously been recovered from the Michigan side of the river.

A preliminary coroner’s report written by Dr. Mark Witek indicates that both Pohlson and Spigarelli died from single gunshot wounds to the head. A report prepared by a Michigan medical examiner concluded that Bryan Mort died of a single gunshot wound to the torso.

After being taken into custody, Johnson was transported to the Marinette County Sheriff’s office, where he was interviewed by investigators O’Neil and Todd Baldwin.

Johnson said he had been born and raised in Kingsford, Mich., and had been living with his mother there since December, 2001. He had spent four and a half years on active military duty and another four years in the National Guard.

(Other reports state Johnson graduated from Kingsford High School in 1989 and joined the Army a few days later. He was stationed at Fort Polk, La., and was never sent overseas. He was married in 1990. After he was honorably discharged in 1994 he worked as a plumber in Shreveport, La. until he moved back to his mother’s home after his wife left him in 2001.)

He told officers he felt like he had a lot of stress in his life, but this did not justify his actions. He said at one point he had been going to college, held two jobs, and attended Officer Candidate School, but no matter how much he worked back then, it never seemed like it was enough. He said he felt like every time he was about to obtain something it was taken away.

His mother, Judy Johnson, had earlier told authorities her son’s personality had changed after his marriage dissolved seven years ago and his ex-wife moved to Ohio with their two children. She said he had been a devoted father.

According to O’Neil’s report, Johnson told the investigators he had been having thoughts about doing something like this for four or five years. He had kept bags with different gear, including weapons and ammo, hidden in various locations for four years, with the sole purpose, for when a day like this came.

Events leading to the shootings started on July 30, when Johnson went for a bike ride with a 24-year-old female acquaintance. He said they rode to the area near the bridge on the Wisconsin side of the border, and there he attempted to sexually assault her. He told officers she fought back and he was unable to complete the assault. He said he talked to her afterwards and hoped she would not call the police.

He then returned to the area near his mother’s home and remained hidden, watching to see if any law enforcement would come. About 11 p.m. he saw a squad car drive slowly past the house.

He then returned to the woods on the Wisconsin side of the river where he had his equipment hidden and waited for officers to come to investigate the sexual assault. His plan was to kill any law enforcement that arrived. No one came.

At about 10 a.m. Thursday Johnson returned home and asked his mother if the police had come looking for him. She said they had not. He ate, then explained to his mother that the police might be looking for him, and that he would duck out and come back. When he returned about 3 p.m. his mother told him the police had been there and had left a card asking him to call.

Johnson said he then went to a Subway restaurant to eat because he expected to go to jail. At this point he was evaluating his options. He said he did not want to be listed as a sex offender. According to the report, Johnson told officers he felt he had nothing to lose and the only power he had in this life was to take.

Still weighing his decision, Johnson decided to go back into Wisconsin and get geared up.

At about 4 p.m. he returned to Wisconsin, again by crossing the East Kingsford Railway Bridge. At the bridge he counted eight teenagers swimming in the river nearby.

Johnson said he had kept a duffle bag with some equipment hidden near a blown tree for a year or two. The gun was kept hidden nearby in a rock face, wrapped in plastic. He had an ammo box with .308 cartridges hidden separately. He said he looked around to determine the best area from which to shoot and decided the best place was from the top of a hill on the Wisconsin side where he could lay down and turkey shoot.

According to the report, Johnson said at this point he was sweating and still debating whether he could go through with this.

He told investigators he had expected the teenagers to climb up from the river at a different place and cross back over to Michigan. He had planned that once they were all back in Michigan he would shoot them so they could act as bait to lure in law enforcement and first responders. His plan was to shoot anyone who showed up to help.

Four of the teenagers deviated from what he expected by climbing up from the river near his position. He said he was startled by them and felt trapped. He jumped up and started firing. He saw a couple of people fall. He began to reload. He said he emptied a couple of clips, and estimated he fired around 17 shots. He said he shot at number of people, all from the Wisconsin side of the Menominee River.

He considered reloading and firing again, but decided to stop and evaluate his options. He spent the night in the woods near the bridge.

After spending the night in the woods, Johnson decided to turn himself in. Before exiting the woods, he disabled the firearm, in a way so that law enforcement could see that the gun was disabled. He exited the woods near the railroad crossing on County N in the Town of Niagara and complied with directions from authorities and was taken into custody.

Since the shootings, Iron Mountain area residents have rallied to show support for families of the victims. A concert honoring the victims on Sunday, Aug. 10 attracted nearly 8,000 people and had raised nearly $74,000 by Monday morning. The money will be divided between the families of the three victims.

To open the benefit, members of VFW Post 3674 and Auxiliary came riding in on Harley Davidson motorcycles. They released pink balloons in honor of Pohlson and blue ones for Mort and Spigarelli.

Bad Axe Rodeo, band of benefit organizer Daryle Ryan, opened the concert with Amazing Grace. Prayers for victims, officers and the community were offered by Rev. David Snyder, pastor of United Methodist Church, which Mort’s family attends.




Recent stories, opinions and photos

Issue Date Department Headline
09-12-2019Front Page
Good Shepherd Church and Volunteers Help Cleanup Peshtigo Riverfront Park

09-12-2019Front Page
Pound Board Refers Sikich Audit Results To Authorities

09-12-2019Front Page
County Board To Hear Economic Study Results At Sept. 17 Meeting

09-12-2019Front Page
Marinette Parks Continue To Have Dog, Goose Issues

09-12-2019Front Page
Sheriff Sauve: Deputies Will Work At The Milwaukee DNC Convention

09-12-2019Front Page
$176,750 Donation to M&M Area Foundation Future Fund

09-12-2019Community - Wausaukee
Large Crowd in Attendence Lena Lions 34th Dairy Fest

09-12-2019Community - Wausaukee
Menominee Animal Shelter Annual Dinner/Auction

09-12-2019Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Fall Fest Plan Meeting Sept. 12

09-12-2019Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Back to School Program Brat Fry Fundraiser

09-12-2019Community - Crivitz
Canine Partners Hold Bag Tournament Sept. 14

09-12-2019Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Fire Association Oktoberfest is Sept. 14

09-12-2019Community - Crivitz
Church Has Service at Amberg Sept. 15

09-12-2019Community - Crivitz
CPR Class at Crivitz Bellin

09-12-2019Community - Coleman
Kust Family Presented Century Farm Award

09-12-2019Community - Coleman
Coleman School Board Slates Meet And Greet For Sept. 16

09-12-2019Community - Coleman
Suring School District Welcomes New Staff

09-12-2019Community - Coleman
New Members of the Coleman School Staff

09-12-2019Sports
Bulldogs Get On Winning Track With Victory Over Northern Elite

09-12-2019Sports
Gillett Leads Area Teams at Irish Invitational

09-12-2019Sports
Peshtigo Stands Tall Over Marinette/Menominee in Tri-City Triangular

09-12-2019Sports
Marinette Girls Capture Oconto Falls Invitational

09-12-2019Perspectives
From Our Readers

09-12-2019Perspectives
From My Window

09-12-2019Perspectives
Country Cousin

09-12-2019Obituaries
Alphonse J. Basak

09-12-2019Obituaries
Elsie Mae A. Bauer

09-12-2019Obituaries
Alby P. Beach

09-12-2019Obituaries
Barbara Bergstrom

09-12-2019Obituaries
Henry A. Burkel

09-12-2019Obituaries
Lynnette Deneys

09-12-2019Obituaries
Robert E. Dreier 

09-12-2019Obituaries
Michael P. Englund

09-12-2019Obituaries
Charles W. Everson

09-12-2019Obituaries
Sharon A. Gignac

09-12-2019Obituaries
Ralph C. Kinzel

09-12-2019Obituaries
Bonnie Kaye Korpi

09-12-2019Obituaries
Sharon J. Larschied

09-12-2019Obituaries
Virginia E. Luisier

09-12-2019Obituaries
Mary S. Pecanas

09-12-2019Obituaries
Dale F. Peterson, Sr. 

09-12-2019Obituaries
Alma M. Rowell

09-12-2019Obituaries
Larry R. Smiley

09-12-2019Obituaries
Fred J. Strojny, Sr.

09-12-2019Obituaries
Mary K. Taylor

09-05-2019Front Page
Town of Peshtigo Home Is Destroyed By Fire Tuesday

09-05-2019Front Page
State Task Force Gathers PFAS Info In Marinette

09-05-2019Front Page
Change Reservation Rules for Historical Days Park Campsites

09-05-2019Front Page
Town Of Peshtigo And DOT Discuss Country Meadows Rd.

09-05-2019Front Page
Armed Robberies Have Been Solved

09-05-2019Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Church Fall Dinner Oct. 19

09-05-2019Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Town Meeting Dates

09-05-2019Community - Wausaukee


09-05-2019Community - Crivitz
Amberg Firemen's Picnic Was A Huge Success

09-05-2019Community - Crivitz
Northwoods Apostolic Starts Town Hall Tour

09-05-2019Community - Coleman
North Country Kickers Start Dances on Sept. 4

09-05-2019Community - Coleman
Corn Silage Moisture Monitoring Available

09-05-2019Community - Coleman
Wabeno Area Players To Host Community Theatre Conference

09-05-2019Community - Coleman
Donates $50,000 to First Responders

09-05-2019Sports
Stegeman Leads Rest of The Area Field in Voting

09-05-2019Sports
Elite Group Battles for Top Spot in TIMESLand

09-05-2019Sports
Crivitz/Suring/Coleman Post Wins

09-05-2019Sports
Area Teams Battle it Out in Invites and Triangulars

09-05-2019Perspectives
From Our Readers

09-05-2019Perspectives
Country Cousin

09-05-2019Perspectives
From My Window

09-05-2019Obituaries
Douglas J. Brunette

09-05-2019Obituaries
Henry A. Burkel

09-05-2019Obituaries
Gerald R. Farley

09-05-2019Obituaries
Anthony V. Guarisco

09-05-2019Obituaries
Ed. E. Guseck

09-05-2019Obituaries
Herbert Handt

09-05-2019Obituaries
Mary A. Herlache

09-05-2019Obituaries
Earl A. Huebner

09-05-2019Obituaries
Clint Johnson

09-05-2019Obituaries
Shane J.T. Lee

09-05-2019Obituaries
David R. Lesandrini

09-05-2019Obituaries
Milton E. Mitchell

09-05-2019Obituaries
Amber Newbury

09-05-2019Obituaries
Bruce G. Rodeghier

09-05-2019Obituaries
Kenneth M. Sparr

09-05-2019Obituaries
Clarence W. Spencer

09-05-2019Obituaries
Dennis J. Strojny

09-05-2019Obituaries
E. James Walter

08-30-2019Front Page
Good Weather Helps Marinette County Fair Draw Big Crowds

08-30-2019Front Page
Hundreds Visit Remember The Fallen Memorial in Menominee

08-30-2019Front Page
County Board Assigns Parks Duties To Facilities Maintenance Department

08-30-2019Front Page
Major Renovations Planned For Courthouse Complex

08-30-2019Front Page
Wausaukee Okays 2019 Christmas In The Park

08-30-2019Front Page
Audit Finds County Is In Good Financial Condition

08-30-2019Community - Wausaukee
Berge Memorial 189 Mile Bike Ride

08-30-2019Community - Wausaukee
Town Board of Athelstane Rescinds Eye Sore Ordinance

08-30-2019Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Meal Site Closed, Continue Home Deliveries

08-30-2019Community - Wausaukee
Winners in Chinookie Slam Tournament

08-30-2019Community - Crivitz
Beecher Lake Annual Meeting, Potluck Picnic Sat., Aug. 31

08-30-2019Community - Crivitz
Lisa Rowe Named To Replace Robert Mraz As Assistant DA

08-30-2019Community - Crivitz
Brat Fry To Support Homecoming Festivities

08-30-2019Community - Crivitz
West Shore Fishing Museum Social Sept. 1

08-30-2019Community - Coleman
North Country Kickers Start Dances on Sept. 4

08-30-2019Community - Coleman
Chute Pond Bar Benefit Golf Events

08-30-2019Community - Coleman
Celebrate National Senior Citizens Day at NEW Zoo

08-30-2019Community - Coleman
Suring Library Has Book Sale

08-30-2019Sports
Tough Opening Week For Area Gridiron Squads

08-30-2019Sports
Biggest Challenge Facing High School Sports Today

08-30-2019Sports
Marines Defeat Bulldogs In Soccer Season Opener

08-30-2019Sports
Wisconsin Ranks 14th in H.S. Sports Participation

08-30-2019Perspectives
From Our Readers

08-30-2019Perspectives
From My Window

08-30-2019Perspectives
Country Cousin

08-30-2019Obituaries
Robert P. Brockman

08-30-2019Obituaries
Rose M. Christenson

08-30-2019Obituaries
Thomas G. Cooper

08-30-2019Obituaries
Richard A. Fredrick

08-30-2019Obituaries
Robert J. Hornick

08-30-2019Obituaries
Carole F. Johnson

08-30-2019Obituaries
Robert L. Jenny

08-30-2019Obituaries
James H. Krueger

08-30-2019Obituaries
Margaret Mellinger

08-30-2019Obituaries
Henry C. Porras III

08-30-2019Obituaries
Frank P. Rivard

08-27-2019Front Page


08-22-2019


08-22-2019Front Page
Martin J. Pesmark Family Receives Purple Heart

08-22-2019Front Page
Village of Wausaukee Poised For Some Major Developments

08-22-2019Front Page
Marinette County Fair Starts Thursday, Aug. 22

08-22-2019Front Page
Fair Coronation To Take Place Aug. 22

08-22-2019Front Page
Peshtigo Is Formally Seeking Parks And Recreation Director

08-22-2019Community - Wausaukee
Town Wagner Considers New Gravel Quarry

08-22-2019Community - Wausaukee
Town Of Wausaukee Deeds Evergreen Park To Village

08-22-2019Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Blood Drive is Sept. 9th

08-22-2019Community - Wausaukee
Lego Makerspace at Niagara Library

08-22-2019Community - Crivitz
Town of Stephenson Accepts Solway Resignation

08-22-2019Community - Crivitz
Middle Inlet Board Ok's Scott's Bid

08-22-2019Community - Crivitz
Ducane, Smerchek Win in National Ski Contest

08-22-2019Community - Crivitz
To Hold Crivitz School Annual Meeting Aug. 28

08-22-2019Community - Coleman
Coleman School Spotlights Costa Rica Trip On Aug. 26

08-22-2019Community - Coleman
CCBA Sell-A-Bration in Coleman Sept. 21

08-22-2019Sports
Area Teams Prepare for Friday Night Openers

08-22-2019Sports
Anderson Takes Over as Marinette Football Coach

08-22-2019Sports
Bayerl Looks at Rebuilding Season for Young Bulldogs

08-22-2019Sports
Bear Management Zones Stay Unchanged for the 2019 season

08-22-2019Perspectives
From Our Readers

08-22-2019Perspectives
Country Cousin

08-22-2019Perspectives
From My Window

08-22-2019Obituaries
Brother George R. Armstrong

08-22-2019Obituaries
Marsha J. Corsten

08-22-2019Obituaries
Debra J. Deldin

08-22-2019Obituaries
Thomas A. Dufek

08-22-2019Obituaries
Francis L. Green

08-22-2019Obituaries
Brian W. Harris


space
Peshtigo Times
WEB Poll!
Should our communities do more to remember and teach about the significants of 9/11 and other pivotal moments in American history?
space Yes
No
Undecided
space
TO VOTE CLICK
YES, NO or UNDECIDED

Suggest a Question
space .
space
FRONT
space
.
space
CLASSIFIEDS
space
.
space
COMMUNITY
space
.
space
GUEST BOOK
space
.
space
NEWS
space
.
space
OBITS
space
.
space
PERSPECTIVES
space
.
space
SPORTS
space
.
space
SUBSCRIBE
space
.
space
.
space
PESHTIGO FIRE
space
.
space
CUSTOM PRINTING
space
.
space
TIMES' SAVER
space
.
space
Click for Peshtigo, Wisconsin Forecast
FORECAST
space
Quick...
News or Ad Search
Enter News key words.
Enter Ad key words.



Peshtigo Times
841 Maple St
PO Box 187
Peshtigo, WI 54157
Phone: 715-582-4541
Email:
News@
PeshtigoTimes.com

space
Fax: 715-582-4662
© 2000-2019
All right reserved
space
Powered by
WEB Media
Interactive
COMMUNITY
WEB sites