Hold D.A. Jackie Johnson Accountable for Murders of Katie Kettles and John Hall
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We, the undersigned, accuse Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson of prosecutorial misconduct for abusing her prosecutorial discretion in handling of the charges against former Glynn County Police Officer Robert C. Sasser, and we request that disciplinary action be taken against her by the State Bar of Georgia.
On May 13th, Robert Sasser was involved in an incident that led to charges of Simple Battery and Criminal Trespass after he tried to break into his estranged wife’s home and threatened her and her guest. He was released on bond, the terms of which were violated almost immediately when Mr. Sasser obtained and discharged a firearm during an intense 9 hour standoff with police, which also included the assault of 2 police officers. Mr. Sasser was then charged with two counts of Felony Obstruction of a Law Enforcement Officer and one count of Misdemeanor Obstruction of a Law Enforcement Officer. The manner in which Mr. Sasser violated the terms of his bond, and the additional assault allegations, made it extremely inappropriate for D.A. Johnson to agree to grant him bond a second time. Mr. Sasser had proven himself unstable and violent, and clearly demonstrated that he had no respect for the bond terms set by the court. Mr. Sasser also testified in court to owning a large number of firearms, which D.A. Johnson failed to request be secured and inaccessible to him. Furthermore, the order that Mr. Sasser stay out of the Brunswick Judicial Circuit failed to provide any practical way, such as GPS monitoring, for the court to oversee those terms. The terms of this bond order, consented to by Jackie Johnson, were excessively lenient, and we don’t believe any other person would have been granted similar leniency after such extreme actions.
Jackie Johnson has dealt with Robert Sasser before. She prosecuted him for the 2010 shooting of an unarmed mother, Caroline Small, a case that received vast national attention and raised serious questions about Johnson’s integrity. She gave Sasser and the other involved officer the evidence in the case weeks before it went to the grand jury and she allowed an inaccurate animation created by the Glynn County Police Department to be shown to the grand jury. This led several prosecutors who worked under Johnson to accuse her of misconduct in her handling of the case. Johnson fired one prosecutor for his outspoken determination to prosecute the 2010 shooting, and she excluded the others who best knew the evidence. It was clear in 2010 that Jackie Johnson was determined to protect Robert Sasser from prosecution, and it was made even more clear recently when she exercised excessive and inappropriate leniency toward him in 2018 - an act that enabled him to go on to murder 2 innocent people.
Prosecutors are responsible for determining who should be held accountable when a crime is committed, and to protect the public from those persons. If Jackie Johnson had respected her charge and her responsibility to hold Robert Sasser accountable for his actions, Katie Kettles Sasser and John Hall would still be alive today. The deep tragedy of their death lies in the opportunity and responsibility Jackie Johnson had to prevent it from happening all. She clearly does not have the public’s best interests at heart, and she must be held accountable for enabling these crimes.
We are forced to assume some level of public corruption contributed to the excessive leniency offered to Mr. Sasser numerous times in this case. We trust that your desire to require that prosecutors uphold the highest standards of legal practice will lead you to formally investigate this matter, and to discipline District Attorney Jackie Johnson accordingly. We sincerely thank you for your time and attention.
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