Ennis Ford Perfect Drive
Ennis Daily News

Could this have been avoided?

When a murder takes place anywhere in the United States, it is a tragic thing, but when it is happens in Ennis, Texas, it becomes something more.
Being just a short drive from downtown Dallas and not much further from the enjoyments of Arlington and Fort Worth, Ennis enjoys much of the pleasures of big city life while maintaining the feel of a small town. So when something as dreadful as a homicide takes place in our town limits, it reminds us that our community can suffer the same hardships as any other city in the metroplex.
Right now Ennis resident Michael Wayne Johnson is sitting in a jail cell in Waxahachie after allegedly stabbing his 62-year-old grandmother-in-law, Julia Jaquez, several times.
Could this brutal crime have been avoided?
I ask this because of a criminal history that Johnson, who admitted to the crime, police say, has built up that seems to answer that question with a resounding yes.
Starting in 1998, Johnson was arrested and subsequently convicted of burglaries that had taken place in March and April of that year. Five years later he was convicted of assaulting a public servant. The original arrest charge for the May 2003 incident was capital murder of a peace officer, when Johnson allegedly tried to grab the officer’s pistol while struggling with police. In the past few months here in Ennis, Johnson has been charged with terroristic threats, criminal trespass and assault.
So why was something not done earlier that could have stopped a situation like last Wednesday evening, when police believe Johnson took a knife to his wife’s grandmother because, as Johnson claims, she said some things that angered him?
Our criminal justice system is admittedly not perfect. Overcrowded jails result in many criminals seeing the light of day earlier than they should and the near-endless amount of appeals a person can get helps things to drag along for those who need closure — the victims.
But doesn’t the allegation that Johnson tried to disarm a police officer and use the weapon to avoid arrest warrant some harsh penalties?
If Johnson is found guilty of this crime, do we look back and ask why it takes being successful at murder to get a person behind bars — and away from innocent future victims — for a lifetime?
There are no easy answers to these questions.
In a perfect world, those who commit crimes would be put behind bars and the life inside prison would deter ex-convicts from committing future crimes. However, we live in an imperfect world with an imperfect justice system — Michael Johnson may have been allowed to commit one crime too many and Julia Jaquez paid for that imperfection with her life.
Matt Cook is the managing editor of the Ennis Daily News and covers public safety. He can be reached at matt@ennisdailynews.com.

Post to Twitter




Posted by on Jul 30 2009. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed

Featured Links

    Search Archive

    Search by Date
    Search by Category
    Search with Google

    Photo Gallery

    Log in


    Copyright: All rights reserved. Users may download and print extracts of content from this website for their own personal and non-commercial use only. Republication or redistribution of Ennis Daily News content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Ennis Daily News. Ennis Daily News and its logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of the Ellis County Newspapers, Inc.

    © Ellis County Newspapers, Inc. 2019