James Johnson Pleads Guilty to Killing Talbert Bright After Argument Over Beer

James Johnson, 32, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter Friday for the death of Talbert Bright on June 28.

Bright, 48, was found shot multiple times in the upper body near the intersection of 2nd Street and Massachusetts Avenue Northwest. He died later at Washington Hospital Center.

According to the proffer of facts, Johnson was in a small park drinking beer with friends for a social gathering. Johnson had a cooler filled with beers when Bright asked Johnson for a beer.

Prosecutors say after Johnson told Bright he couldn’t have a beer, Bright and Johnson began to argue. Once the argument ended, Bright walked to his bicycle to grab his bag and change into his sneakers.

Johnson then reached into a black backpack, pulled out a gun, and fired at Bright four times, hitting him three times, documents say.

Why did you shoot the man?” Judge John Ramsey Johnson asked Johnson before accepting his plea.

Holding back tears, the defendant, Johnson replied, “I feared for my life. I don’t know.” He added: “When I saw the book bag, I assumed he was going to pull out a gun.”

A witness told police that Bright argued with Johnson over a beer before grabbing his backpack and placing it on his bike, documents say. Johnson then grabbed his own bag and asked Bright what he was getting out of the bag. The witness said Johnson pulled out a dark colored handgun and shot Bright three times, court documents state.

According to the witness, Bright started to run, but Johnson fired again, causing Bright to fall to the ground.

Johnson is scheduled for a sentencing hearing Feb. 6, 2015 at 12:00 p.m. before Judge John Ramsey Johnson.

Plea documents embedded are below:

blog comments powered by Disqus