A Corbin man, who was charged with the attempted murder of his girlfriend, pleaded guilty Friday to an amended charge of assault.
Forty-nine-year-old Michael Dean Johnson, who was arrested on Oct. 26 for allegedly shooting Alexis McMahan five times in the chest and abdomen, entered the guilty plea in Laurel Circuit Court.
Under the terms of the agreement, Johnson who was indicted in November on charges of attempted murder and first-degree wanton endangerment, pleaded guilty to an amended charge of second-degree assault and first-degree wanton endangerment.
In return for the guilty plea, prosecutors are recommending the minimum sentence on the assault charge of five years and the maximum sentence on the wanton endangerment charge, also five years.
“Based on our conversations with the victim, she did not feel it was his intention to kill or harm her in any manner,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Jackie Steele. “It became very difficult to prove intent.”
Steele added that McMahan signed off on the plea agreement.
Johnson is scheduled to return to court on April 13 for formal sentencing. While the two sides in the case have accepted the plea agreement, the final decision rests with Judge Michael Caperton.
Under Kentucky law, the presiding judge in a case must accept a plea agreement before it is finalized.
Caperton may elect not to accept the agreement, at which time, Johnson would have the opportunity to withdraw his guilty plea, or to proceed with sentencing without an agreement in place.
Johnson was arrested at the couple’s residence on Lon Chadwell Road, off of Ky. 1223.
Laurel County Sheriff’s deputies were called to the scene about 12:40 a.m. in response to a domestic violence complaint.
The caller reported that a male subject, later identified as Johnson, had shot his girlfriend five times.
McMahan was airlifted to the University of Kentucky Medical Center for treatment of her injuries.
Detective Kyle Gray wrote in the arrest citation that McMahan told them that the couple had been arguing that morning and that Johnson had backed her into the corner of the bedroom before he shot her.
“Alexis reported that she picked up a metal baseball bat to defend herself against the above offender,” Gray stated in the arrest citation.
Deputy Gilbert Acciardo, the department’s public affairs officer, said investigators never determined what exactly the couple had been arguing about.
Gray added that the couple’s five-year-old son was asleep in the bedroom next to where the altercation took place.
As a result, Gray charged Johnson with wanton endangerment.
Johnson has been held in the Laurel County Detention Center on a $100,000 cash bond since his arrest.
Under Kentucky law, he will receive credit toward his sentence for the time he has spent in the detention center.