Domestic Violence Defendant Enters into Alford Plea

A domestic violence defendant accepted a plea deal without admitting to a criminal act, in what is known as an Alford plea.

William Johnson III, 38, got into an argument with his relative last December that ended with Johnson stabbing him twice in the chest and once in the arm, according to the prosecution. The defense counsel noted that Johnson was highly intoxicated at the time of the incident, causing him to blackout and to forget certain details of the incident. 

An Alford plea allows Johnson to submit that the prosecutor has enough evidence to convict him without outright admitting that he committed the crime. 

The defendant was initially charged with assault with intent to kill while armed. During the Feb. 23 hearing, he pleaded down to assault with intent to kill, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

Defense attorney Wole Falodun asked DC Superior Court Judge Rainey Brandt to release Johnson into the High Intensity Supervision Program as he waits to be sentenced.  He said his client could stay with another family member, away from the location of the incident. The prosecutor objected to this request.  

Judge Brandt denied the request,  saying no supervision could stop him from consuming alcohol.  She also cited his past arrests, three of which involved probation violations. Judge Brandt said she is not comfortable with him staying with a different family member when the incident itself involved a family member. 

Johnson is scheduled to be sentenced on May 13.