THE MURDERS OF PROFESSOR BITTENGLE - AKSHAKAYA NANDAM - ERIC JARMIN - BRANDON JOHNSON - VICTORIA MCCOY - SHAMAR WOMACK CHARGED
Carlos Larios (31) was robbed in the parking lot of his apt. complex while
walking to his car. He was shot in the hand as he tried
to run back into his apartment.
Then police say another shot was fired in the parking lot of the complex.
According to the police report the robber approached Bittengle and his
71-year-old mother in the apt. parking lot.
After taking the elderly woman's purse, he turned and for no reason shot
the Professor in the abdomen.
UAMS Professor Joseph Bittengle (50) died at the hospital.
Professor Bittingle (Division Director) was employed at Radiologic Imaging
Sciences, at UAMS and is spoken of as a dedicated teacher.
Previously in the same week, Brandon Johnson robbed and shot
Dr. Akshaya Nandam (26) in the parking lot of another apartment
Dr. Akshaya Nandam was a Mechanical Design Engineer working for Satyam
Computer Services Limited in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Eric Jarmin (24) was shot and killed while in the parking lot of another apartment
These men were gunned down by brutal thugs who were deliberately targeting
Hispanics, or those they thought were Hispanic because they mistakenly
thought that Hispanics were afraid of, and didn't trust banks and carried large
sums of money.
Brandon Johnson (20)
Shamar Womack (29)
and Victoria McCoy are under arrest for the murders and police say "there
still could be one more person at large."
Prosecutors deem Johnson a "cold blooded killer and a danger to society."
None of the three were allowed out on bond.
Brandon Johnson is charged with three counts of capital murder and several
counts of aggravated robbery. Shamar Womack is charged with aggravated
robbery and battery. Victoria McCoy, Johnson's girlfriend, is charged with
using one of the victim's credit cards.
More charges are likely to be filed.
Brandon Johnson "I did nothing, I'm gonna get my lawyer."
"Just because I was there, doesn't mean I pulled the trigger."
2010 - March - 11 - A mental competency hearing will be held in court.
Brandon Johnson's attorneys claim he is "mentally retarded and unfit for trial."
The following was reported to Circuit Judge Marion Humphrey:
Dr. Michael Simon - "It is my opinion that this unwillingness to participate was volitional and thus not due to mental disease or defect."
Dr. Simon stops the interview when it becomes clear that Brandon Johnson has no intention of cooperating with the mental evaluation.
"A review of Johnson's jail records show no reports of unusual behaviour or requesting mental health services. The only medication Johnson has taken was for anxiety and high blood pressure, and that medication was taken for only three days."
Brandon Johnson is charged with:
holdups between Sept. 2008 - January 2009
3 counts of capital murder for killing Joseph Bittengle, Eric German and Akshaya Nandam.
14 counts of aggravated robbery
2 counts of aggravated residential burglary
9 counts of first-degree battery
10 counts of theft
Robbery of a pizza delivery driver
Felony probation violation
Victoria McCoy is charged with:
Criminal use of a credit card
Shamar Womack, is charged with:
Felony theft of property for the robbery of Armando Guerrero.
More charges are likely.
Armando Guerrero is shot in the torso during a robbery. He survives.
Jairo Castorena-Mendez is shot in the arm during an attempted robbery. He survives.
Carlos Larios is shot in the hand during a robbery. He survives.
Less than 10 minutes later, Joseph Bittingle is shot in the stomach and murdered.
Akshaya Nandam is shot in the leg and murdered.
Eric German is shot four times at close range, murdered.
Hours after Akshaya Nandam's shooting, one of his credit cards is used at a McDonald's by
a person in a red Pontiac Grand Am. Victoria McCoy, girlfriend of Brandon Johnson, drives a red Grand Am.
Forensics connects shell casings from the murders to
.380 caliber casings found inside an abandoned 2005 Chevy Impala. The vehicle had been abandoned after the driving struck three cars in a parking lot. The driver - Shamar Womack.
Womack tells the owner of the vehicle to "report it as stolen" because "he had been in a disturbance in which someone had shot at him" causing him to crash. The person who shot at Womack - Brandon Johnson.
Police searching Victoria McCoy's apartment find .380 calibert handgun. Forensics matches the casings from the murders and casings found in the Impala. Bloody pants with Nandam's property inside one of one of the pockets are found. Dvd's rented using Nandam's credit card are also found.
Akshaya Nandam's wallet, and Eric German's wallet are found in the apartment.
TRIAL DATES: August 2010 for slaying of Eric Jarmin
November 2010 for slaying of Joseph Bittengle
No trial dates set yet for the slaying of Akshaya Nandam
or for the other robberies & shootings.
Chief Deputy Prosecutor John Johnson "Prosecutors plan to use evidence from
all three of the killings at Brandon Johnson's August trial."
CHARGES: 3 counts of capital murder, 14 counts of aggravated robbery, 2 counts of
aggravated residential burglary, 9counts of first degree battery and 10
counts of theft.
2010 - March 12 - Prosecutors drop Death Penalty against Brandon Dewayne
Johnson, instead seek Life sentence.
Brandon Dewayne Johnson's IQ tests out at 55 - Arkansas law and
U.S. Supreme Court precedent bar the execution of defendants with
an IQ of 65 or below. Doctors deem Johnson "mentally retarded."
Dr. Brian Rush Simpson (Forensic Psychiatrist, State Hospital) "I found Brandon
Johnson to have mild mental retardation." "The defendant has no history of mental
"Johnson's claim of hearing voices in his head is more likely an indication of his low
IQ, than an indicator that he is schizophrenic. People with mental retardation regularly
report hearing voices, which are actually the internal monologue that most people have
Dr. Buhushan "Shawn" Agharkar (Defense Psychiatrist, Georgia) "The defendant
puts up a good front, but careful questioning shows Johnson is unfit to stand trial."
Johnson "parrots" what others tell him in an effort to please them, but doesn't have
sufficient understanding of the accusations against him or how the legal system
works to stand trial.
"It really tells you this is a guy you have to be careful with ... because he'll look at
you like he understands. He tries to please you. He tries to play down his cognitive
difficulties." As an example, Johnson initially was enamored with John Johnson,
the prosecutor, thinking that Johnson wanted to set him free. He thought the
prosecuting attorney was cool. He should know the prosecuting attorney is against
him, not on his side."
COMPETENT TO STAND TRIAL
As soon as it medical evidence established Johnson's IQ, his
defense moved to have him deemed incompetent to stand trial.
Prosecutors presented letters from Johnson that he wrote:
1) Johnson tried to persuade a friend to claim ownership of a
pair of bloodied jeans.
2) Johnson demonstrated that he knows the murder weapon,
which was found under his girlfriend's couch, near the
bloodied jeans, had been stolen.
The defense disputed the authenticity of the letters.
Circuit Judge Marion Humphrey "Johnson is competent to stand trial."
2010 - July 9 - Brandon Dewayne Johnson entered a plea deal yesterday, July 8, 2010.
Johnson was deemed competent to stand trial but has instead
pled Guilty for the deaths of:
Professor Joseph Bittengle - December 2008
Eric Jarman - January 2009
Askshaya Nandam - January 2009
The plea deal:
100 year sentence - he'll have to serve 55 1/2 years before becoming eligible
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