Robin Johnson found guilty of killing cop after CTA bus incident - KMSP-TV

Robin Johnson found guilty of killing cop after CTA bus incident

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Robin Johnson Robin Johnson
Officer Richard Francis Officer Richard Francis
Officer Richard Francis Officer Richard Francis
CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

A middle-aged woman was found guilty Wednesday of disarming a police officer and murdering him with his own gun after he confronted her about an altercation on a CTA bus.

Robin Johnson was also convicted of one count of aggravated discharge of a firearm in the death of Chicago Police Officer Richard Francis.

Earlier Wednesday, jurors heard a vivid description of Francis' final moments.

They heard him chuckle, responding to the 911 call moments before he was killed by his own service revolver.

"Bus disturbance," Francis was heard saying lightheartedly on the recording of the call from the early morning hours of July 2, 2008.

"Just screaming people."

Francis, 60, decided to go to the scene alone, despite his proximity to the Belmont District police station, not realizing the danger he was in.

Within seconds, the 27-year Chicago Police veteran would be dead.

"He underestimated her," Assistant Cook County State's Attorney Jennifer Coleman said Wednesday of Johnson, the middle-aged woman accused of disarming Francis and killing the uniformed officer after he confronted her for the run-in she had with another woman on a CTA bus.

"He [Francis] underestimated the situation. He underestimated what she [Johnson] was capable of," Coleman said.

Johnson was "aggressive, hostile and angry," prosecutors told jurors in their closing arguments, describing Johnson's actions against Francis and the four officers who came to his aid.

Johnson, 50, was acquitted of attempted murder and aggravated discharge of firearm charges for allegedly shooting at Francis' colleagues, who returned fire and wounded Johnson.

Although he didn't mention her reported mental illness, Assistant Public Defender Kulmeet S. "Bob" Galhotra said Johnson was "confused, distressed and in need of help" during her interaction with the other CTA commuter and her ensuing struggle with Francis.

Before Francis was shot, Johnson was seen holding her own breast, telling the commuter, who she didn't know, "You made me this way," Galhotra reminded jurors.

Johnson was pacing back and forth, stomping her feet and talking to herself outside the CTA bus she was seen walking in and out of, Galhotra said.

"She was pressing up against [the commuter]. That's strange and bizarre behavior. It's not angry behavior," Galhotra said.

Galhotra asked the jury to use the grainy CTA surveillance video as a "benchmark" for what unfolded that morning instead of what he said was the inconsistent testimony of witnesses and officers.

The defense attorney also implied that Johnson may not have had her finger on the trigger and that the gun could have went off during the tussle between Johnson and Francis.

But prosecutors said witnesses saw Johnson with the weapon and that she knew exactly what she was doing.

For someone who was confused, "she had some pretty good aim," Assistant State's Attorney Charise Valente said.

Johnson grabbed Francis' gun, and even though he had his hands up in the form of "a surrender," she shot him in the face, prosecutors said as Francis' widow, Deborah, dabbed her eyes with a tissue.

Johnson allegedly shot Francis two more times while he was motionless on the pavement.

"She stood there and she pulled the trigger without a moment's hesitation," Valente said before a standing room only crowd in Judge Thomas Gainer's courtroom.

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