FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ)- One of the three men accused in a string of 2017 robberies that eventually resulted in the shooting death of a Hispanic immigrant at a gas station has pleaded guilty and will testify against his co-defendants, according to The State Journal.
The newspaper says that 23-year-old James Johnson Jr., pleaded guilty Friday to four counts of first-degree robbery, and a reduced charge of second-degree manslaughter, a capital offense. Johnson and 25-year-old Emmanuel Gunpay Bush had been charged with murder in the May 2017 shooting death of 54-year-old Adan “Allan” Juarez Vicente at the Marathon gas station on Holmes Street. Johnson faces a combined sentence of 25 years in prison for his role and agreed to testify truthfully at the trials of Bush and 21-year-old Jarqueze Omar-Lumot Bunton, who was later charged with a string of burglaries that preceded the fatal shooting.
Johnson could face life in prison if he does not fulfill the commitment.
According to police reports, the three men perpetrated a string of robberies in a two-week period of 2017. They allegedly obscured their faces with hoodies and robbed Arandas Mexican Restaurant on Versailles Road, the Circle K gas station on Schenkel Lane and an apartment on Leawood Drive.
One night in May 2017, though, the robberies took a deadly turn.
The State Journal says Juarez-Vicente, who helped out at the store occasionally, and the gas station clerk had just locked the store and were walking across the parking lot. That’s when Johnson and Bush allegedly approached them and tried to rob them at gunpoint.
Bush was the man wielding the gun, according to Commonwealth’s Attorney Larry Cleveland, and what transpired during the robbery to turn it deadly appears to be a reaction to a perceived threat.
“I believe the victim went to raise his shirt to show he was not armed,” Cleveland said. “That’s when Bush opened fire.”
Juarez-Vicente, who emigrated from Mexico, was left dead in the wake of the gunfire.
Johnson and Bush each were indicted on a capital murder charge as well as first-degree robbery, a Class B felony, in connection with that case.
Bunton was incarcerated in Franklin County Regional Jail on charges of fourth-degree domestic violence and a parole violation at the time of the deadly shooting. However, all three men were later tied to the string of previous armed robberies.
Bush is charged with murder, a capital offense, and four counts of first-degree robbery, a Class B felony. And Bunton is charged with two counts of first-degree robbery, a Class B felony. A trial date has not been scheduled.