By Rosemary K. Otzman
On May 13, Thomas Michael Johnson of Van Buren Township pled guilty to federal firearms charges in the U.S. District Court in Detroit.
In a plea agreement Johnson, 52, will do ten years in prison and avoid a career-criminal sentence of 30 years, said VBT Police Sgt. Charles Bazzy.
Sheldon Brummette, the heroin dealer who bought the stolen firearm from Johnson, also took a ten-year plea.
The Javon Ellis trial will begin on May 28 at the U.S. District Court in Detroit. Ellis is looking at a minimum of 30 years to life if convicted as a career criminal, Sgt. Bazzy reported.
Police say Ellis is the person who bought the stolen firearm from Brummette and was arrested by the Eastern Michigan University Police Department following a traffic stop, when the firearm and marijuana was found in his possession.
The firearm in question was stolen in a home invasion on Old Michigan Avenue in Van Buren Township.
Johnson was arrested April 4, 2012 and prosecuted by VBT police for his part in the break-ins in the Denton/Michigan Avenue neighborhoods. On June 7 Johnson was sentenced to one-year probation for possession of stolen property by 34th District Court Chief Judge Tina Brooks Green. Johnson had five convictions between 1979 and 1985 for breaking and entering, home invasion, and intent to commit larceny.
On June 14, Johnson was a no-show for a pretrial exam on yet another case against him in 34th District Court Judge David Parrott’s courtroom.
It turned that Johnson was in jail on a federal charge of a felon knowingly and unlawfully in possession of a firearm, in this case a Colt .45 pistol with a laser sight which had previously traveled in interstate and foreign commerce.
At the time of his arrest he was in the company of two other felons: Brummette and Ellis, both of whom were listed as defendants in the federal case.
Court records state police allege Johnson sold the Colt .45 with laser sight, which was stolen Jan. 27, 2012, to Brumette for $200 and Brummette sold it to Ellis for $250.
The home invasions in the northwest corner of VBT from November 2011 to April 2012 brought a lot of public comment that was put to rest with Johnson’s arrest.
By Rosemary K. Otzman