Eric Jamal Johnson could be back in Texas as early as next Tuesday. Johnson, a 20-year-old U.S. Marine corporal, is accused of gunning down Univ. of North Texas junior, Sara Mutschlechner, on New Year’s Day.
Mutschlechner was shot in the head and lost control of her car while driving with three of her friends in Denton, Texas, police say.
Johnson was arrested by U.S. Marshals on a military base in Yuma, Arizona on Tuesday morning. According to an official with Yuma Justice Court, Johnson will appear before a superior court judge on Monday morning.
Following that appearance, it’s likely that Denton County authorities will have the green light to bring Johnson back to face charges in connection with Mutschlechner’s death. During a hearing in Yuma on Thursday, Johnson had a public defender with him, according to dentonRC.com, and waived extradition.
Johnson was allegedly driving a Honda Pilot, when he started shooting at the other car. Local media initially reported that there was some sort of altercation earlier that night at a party – between the people in Johnson’s car and Mutschlechner’s friends. She was the designated driver that night.
Investigators are confident that Johnson was the lone shooter. Denton police officer Shane Kizer says, “We have spoken to all the passengers in the car with him; they have been cooperative with us,” he said. “We will see from here where it goes.”
According to an officer with the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Yuma, “In the two and a half years Cpl. Eric Johnson…has served in the Marine Corps…he has not been subject to any punitive action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.”
Johnson was reportedly on leave when the shooting occurred. “No Marines were with him when the alleged incident occurred,” the official said.