Walter “King Tut” Johnson never thought victory could feel so empty. Just after 9 a.m. on October 24, 1996, Johnson strode into the courthouse at 360 Adams Street in downtown Brooklyn, excited at the prospect of returning home later that day on a not-guilty verdict stemming from a robbery charge. Though Johnson had a criminal record that one prosecutor dubbed “extraordinary” – his rap sheet included dramatic hold-ups of a Jehovah’s Witness hall and a New York City Transit bus- he had also been acquitted in a number of cases, including the 1993 shooting of a cop in a Brooklyn barbershop.
Johnson’s attorney had informed him that he’d have a good shot at a not-guilty verdict or even having his case dismissed. But as Johnson passed through the coutrhouse metal detectors and made his way to the coutroom, he was accosted by a group of men dressed in plain business-like attire in the hallway. The men followed Johnson to the coutroom, where, moments after the judge announced that he was dismissing the robbery case, the man who had most prominently been tailing Johnson stepped forward and slapped handcuffs on him. Johnson’s trailer was a U.S. Marshal: King Tut was about to be indicted by the feds.
Continue reading this story in the September 2006 issue of KING (#34).