A 70-year-old Tonto Basin man acquitted of attempted murder will not sit another day in jail.
While a jury found Ronald Johns acted in self-defense when he shot his neighbor in the back of the head more than a year ago, Johns already pleaded guilty to three counts of weapons misconduct just before the trial started.
On Monday, Gila County Superior Court Judge Peter Cahill sentenced Johns to serve one day of probation and 30 days in jail for the misconduct, but because Johns already spent 429 days in jail awaiting trial, Cahill gave him credit for time served.
“I don’t intend him to serve any more jail time,” Cahill said.
Shortly after his July 8 acquittal, Johns returned to his Tonto Basin home, where he lives just feet from neighbor Loren Eaton, whom he shot on May 5, 2010.
While there have not been any more problems between the neighbors, Cahill worried things could fire up again.
County Attorney Patti Wortman asked Cahill to err on the side of safety and place Johns on supervised probation for some time. Cahill said he hoped time had minimized the risk of such an incident happening again between the men and ordered any guns Johns had an interest in be forfeited to the state.
Johns is not permitted to carry a firearm due to a previous felony conviction.
For years, Johns and Eaton have argued over property lines. It all came to a head on the morning of May 5 when Johns shot at Eaton twice with his 410-gauge double-barreled shotgun, striking Eaton once in the head.
Eaton survived the wound and has since taken up residence at his property across from Johns’ home.
Johns recently moved back into his home, where he gets weekly visits from hospice staff.
When Cahill asked Johns how he was doing Monday, Johns said “better.”