On March 24, 1998, Mitchell Johnson and Andrew Golden shoot and kill five and wound 10 at the Westside Middle School in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Golden, 11, the younger of the two boys, asked to be excused from his class, pulled a fire alarm and then ran to join Johnson, 13, in a wooded area 100 yards away from the school's gym. As the students streamed out of the building, Johnson and Golden opened fire on students and teachers.
The two boys were caught soon afterward. In their possession were thirteen fully loaded firearms, including three semi-automatic rifles, and 200 rounds of ammunition. All of the weapons were taken from the Golden family's personal arsenal. Both of the boys had been raised around guns. They belonged to gun clubs and participated in practical shooting competitions. Because Johnson and Golden were minors, they weren’t charged as adults. They were both found guilty of five counts of murder and sent to an Arkansas Juvenile detention facility. Johnson was freed in 2005; Golden was released in 2007. Since his release, Johnson has been in and out of prison for various drug and weapons charges and is presently serving an 18 year prison sentence. In the wake of the Jonesboro school shooting, Arkansas has changed its laws, to allow juvenile murderers to be imprisoned past the age of twenty-one.
Michael Thomas Barry is the author of numerous books that include the award winning, Murder & Mayhem 52 Crimes that Shocked Early California, 1849-1949 (2012, Schiffer Publishing). The WINNER of the 2012 International Book Awards and a FINALIST in the 2012 Indie Excellence Book Awards for True Crime. Visit the authors website for more information: www.michaelthomasbarry.com
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