The Court of Appeals has ruled that Cleamon Johnson, infamously known as "Big Evil", was himself the victim of "vindictive prosecution" and dropped two murder charges and one attempted murder charge from his case. The appeals court, however, did not rule to drop another murder that was added in 2014 to the 89 Family Swans' existing double murder retrial.
The same court had ruled in Dec. 2011 that Johnson's 1997 double murder conviction be overturned because a juror leaning toward acquittal had been wrongly dismissed by the presiding judge. Johnson and co-defendant Michael "Fat Rat" Allen - were transferred from San Quentin to Los Angeles' Men's Central Jail where they have been for nearly five years awaiting retrial for the killings of Peyton Benoit and Donald Ray Loggins who were shot to death at a car wash on 88th Street and Central Avenue in 1991.
As that case was not a lock - the key witness, Freddie Jelks, now dead, was himself facing serious charges - detectives and the district attorney's office sought to bolster the case against Johnson, who was one of the city's most notorious gang member.s They add four charges - the three murders and one attempted murder.
The Los Angeles District Attorney's Office alleged Georgia Denise "Nece" Jones, Albert Sutton and Tyrone Mosley were all killed or ordered killed by Johnson. While Johnson was in Ironwood State Prison, Jones was shot and killed June 12, 1994 at 87th Place and Wadsworth Avenue in the 89 Family neighborhood. Sutton was also killed in that neighborhood. Mosley was shot and killed in September 15, 1991 on 97th Street and McKinley Avenue, a 97 East Coast Crip neighborhood. A fourth man was shot, but survived.
The Jones and Mosley cases and the wounding were ordered dropped by the appeals court.
Sunday while receiving a visitor at Men's Central Jail, Johnson expressed both pleasure with the court's ruling and confidence he beat would be the remaining cases Unfazed that a cousin, Leon Johnson, had "gave him up" in the Sutton murder, he said he has uncovered new information that will lead to his acquittal in all the cases. Last year, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Sam Ohta ruled Johnson be allowed to have a laptop to review his case.