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Johnson's account of fight shown to jurors
[January 19, 2012]

Johnson's account of fight shown to jurors

Jan 19, 2012 (Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- WATERLOO, Iowa -- Jurors began watching a video of Wyatt Johnson's account to police of a 2009 gang fight in a park that led to the death of a Waterloo teen.

Johnson, now 24, is charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Kevin Garcia, 18, and attempted murder for injuries to two other teens.

He has pleaded not guilty.

Investigator Andrea Frana, who questioned Johnson about a month after the April 2009 fight, told jurors that Johnson admitted pulling a knife from his pocket and jabbing.

Assistant County Attorney James Katcher asked Frana the reason Johnson gave.

"To stop people from punching him," Frana answered.

During the two-hour video, Johnson can be heard telling Frana three or four guys jumped on him.

"I was just trying to get away from them," he said.

Johnson told Frana he didn't plan on fighting and went to the park only to watch. But people came at him, and he took out the knife to scare his attackers.

"I wasn't trying to hurt them," he said.

Johnson also recounted how after the fight he and his girlfriend talked about what they should do. He said he called his probation officer and told him he had been in a fight, and the officer asked him to come in the following day.

But Johnson said they instead left Iowa and headed west.

"I was just too afraid and nervous," he told Frana during the interview. He was later detained in Wyoming.

Johnson identified the gangs involved in the fight as the Crips and Surenos 13. He said he wasn't a gang member but had acquaintances with the Surenos.

Earlier story: ------ WATERLOO, Iowa -- A person who was involved in a fatal fight at Exchange Park in 2009 told jurors he saw Wyatt Johnson pull a knife from Kevin Garcia's chest during the melee.

Joshua Ingham, who was 17 at the time of the fight, took the stand Thursday as trial continued for Johnson.

Johnson is charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder in what prosecutors said was a planned fight between two rival gangs.

Ingham, who said he wasn't a gang member but fought on Garcia's side, said he didn't see his friend get stabbed but stopped when he saw Johnson retracting the weapon from Garcia.

"He fell immediately," Ingham said.

"Right where he was standing?" asked Assistant County Attorney James Katcher.

"Yes," Ingham responded.

He said he then saw Johnson flee.

Under cross-examination by Public Defender Erin Bolinger, Ingham admitted he originally told police he wasn't involved in the fight and wasn't truthful when he told investigators he saw the stabbing of two other teens, Bryce Smith and Steven Lamont Perry II.

___ (c)2012 Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (Waterloo, Iowa) Visit Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (Waterloo, Iowa) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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