GUILTY VERDICT IN GANG-RELATED SHOOTING AT BENIHANA
Man Found Guilty of the Murder of Two People and Serious Injury of Two Others
Atlanta-Fulton County District Attorney Paul L. Howard announces the guilty verdict in the case of The State v. Raphael Johnson for the 2013 gang-related Armed Robbery, subsequent shootings, and murder of two men. Johnson was found guilty of Participating in Criminal Street Gang Activity, Murder, four counts of Felony Murder, Armed Robbery, two counts of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon, three counts of Aggravated Battery, two counts of Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony, and two counts of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Johnson was sentenced today, March 22nd, 2016 by Fulton County Superior Court Judge LaGrua. Judge LaGrua sentenced Johnson to three life sentences without the possibility of parole, 80 years consecutive, and 20 years of probation consecutive.
The first shooting occurred on August 13th, 2013 at a social club that served as an illegal gambling establishment on Lee St. S.W.. Johnson went into the gambling house, locked the door, brandished a handgun and exclaimed “y’all already know what this is, get on the ground!.” He then shot two people multiple times and fled. The two gunshot victims were transported to Grady where one of the victims died from his wounds on August 22nd, 2013. The surviving gunshot victim took two years to learn to walk again after the incident. A third victim was transported to Grady for a heart attack and died on August 26th, 2013. Johnson was identified by the surviving victim.
One week later, on August 20th, 2013, Johnson directed a second shooting at a Benihana in Buckhead. The victim was at the Benihana celebrating his son’s 9th birthday with family and friends. As the victim and his family were celebrating, Johnson had three men wait in a car outside the restaurant. Johnson entered the restaurant and watched the victim. As the victim was leaving Benihana, Johnson called and directed the group outside to pull up and open fire on the victim. The victim was shot multiple times, but survived. Johnson was identified since the incident was captured on surveillance cameras and he was easily linked to the group outside.
District Attorney Paul L. Howard, Jr. states:
“Unfortunately, criminal gang activity is on the rise in our community. Our data shows an increase of over 2,000 percent in gang homicide prosecutions during the last ten years. This case is a sad and tragic example of this trend. Our community must join ranks to deliver an unequivocal message that we will not tolerate gang activity.”
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Shawn Ellen LaGrua presided over the case. It was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Linda Dunikoski with assistance from Assistant District Attorney Tiffany Harlow and Investigator Michael Green of the Fulton County District Attorney’s Investigations Unit. Detective Darrin Smith of the Atlanta Police Department led the initial investigation.