January 19, 2021
District Attorney Mike O’Dell announces sentencing of habitual offender……..
Today, in the courtroom of Judge Andrew Hairston, Dennis John Johnson was sentenced to 20 years in the state penitentiary for Attempted Assault 1st degree and 20 years in the state penitentiary for Certain Persons Forbidden to Possess a Firearm. Johnson was also sentenced to 12 months for Attempt to Elude and 12 months for Reckless Endangerment.
Johnson was sentenced on charges stemming from guilty verdicts returned by a DeKalb County jury on November 18, 2020.
Johnson was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Summer McWhorter and Assistant District Attorney Dennis Thompson.
These charges stemmed from an April 2018 chase through DeKalb County that involved numerous law enforcement officers. The chase began when Officer Dalton Veal and Officer Nick Turner, both then with the Fort Payne Police Department, attempted to stop a vehicle in downtown Fort Payne for a switched tag. The vehicle, driven by Dennis John Johnson, gained speed and led officers on a chase through Fort Payne, Hammondville, Valley Head, Mentone, and finally ending in Chattooga County, Georgia.
In the course of the chase, numerous vehicles had to swerve out of the way of the fleeing vehicle. At one point, Hammondville Police Chief Gary Shavers attempted to deploy a spike strip when Johnson aimed his car at Shavers, barely missing him as he jumped out of the way. Johnson, a convicted felon, was found to be in possession of a firearm when he was taken into custody.
“Not only the safety of law enforcement officers, but also the safety of citizens of this county were put in jeopardy as a result of this Defendant’s actions. The verdicts of the jury and the sentences handed down by the judge show that this illegal and dangerous behavior will not be tolerated here,” said McWhorter.
“This result would not be possible without our partners in law enforcement. Many thanks to the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office and the Fort Payne Police Department for their work in seeing this case through until the end,” added O’Dell.