U.S. District Judge Eleanor L. Ross on Monday sentenced Jalita Johnson to only one year probation and 40 hours of community service for straw purchasing a firearm used in the murder of Omaha Police Officer Kerrie Orozco. Johnson illegally purchased the firearm for a prohibited possessor:
Jalita Johnson, 26, bought the Glock semi-automatic handgun, along with a 50-round drum magazine and ammunition from a Jonesboro, Georgia, pawnshop in April. Johnson lied on the corresponding paperwork at the time of the purchase, answering “yes” when asked if she was the actual buyer of the gun and not purchasing the gun for another individual. Prosecutors, however, ascertain that Johnson’s boyfriend, Marcus Wheeler – a 26-year-old convicted felon and known gang member prohibited from making the purchase himself – gave her the money for the gun and told her exactly what to buy.
In August, Johnson pleaded guilty to providing false information to a federally licensed firearms dealer. In addition to the probation term, U.S. District Judge Eleanor L. Ross sentenced Johnson to 40 hours of community service and 180 days of house arrest.
The Omaha police union, in a posting on its Facebook page, said federal authorities “failed” by not sending Johnson to prison. Union members “cannot begin to express the amount of anger, frustration, and sadness this news brings to us,” the union said in the post on Facebook. The union added that the court could have sentenced Johnson to 10 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine, “But instead they chose to let her walk freely among the citizens.”
President Obama appointed Ross to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia in December, 2013.
This month the Obama administration released thousands of violent felons, many with previous firearms charges. The President is still considering executive action on gun control for legal gun owners.