Crime & Courts

Man, 51, sentenced to 62 years in deadly machine-bolt attack

Fifty-one-year-old Clyde Johnson Jr. is likely to spend the rest of his life in prison for an attack with a 2-foot-long machine bolt.

Sedgwick County District Judge Terry Pullman on Friday sentenced Johnson to 62 years in prison for convictions of second-degree murder, attempted rape and three counts of aggravated battery for an attack in March 2011.

Twenty-four-year-old Josh Northcutt was beaten with the bolt and killed, according to police. Northcutt’s then-19-year-old sister also was attacked.

The attack happened during and after people had been partying in an apartment house in the 600 block of North Topeka. Some of the victims had passed out after drinking too much.

During the sentencing hearing, Northcutt’s sister, who was the victim of the sex crime and the beating, got to address the judge and told Johnson that she hoped he felt only pain and suffering and hoped he was overcome by sadness.

“You will never know my pain,” she said. “You deserve the death penalty. I want you to live with what you did.

“And you killed my brother. Why? Why? You will never answer that question, I’m sure of it.”

When she finished speaking to Johnson and walked back to her seat, Johnson, in shackles and seated beside his attorney, turned to look her way. His eyes blinked, over and over.

Before Pullman announced his sentence, he said that although he was disturbed by the lifestyle of the survivors at the time of the attack – there had been the heavy drinking – he said what Johnson did was inexcusable. Pullman, who heard the evidence at trial, said that Johnson’s actions “in no way can be justified, in no way can be mitigated.”

Johnson told the judge Friday that he believed he was acting in self-defense and had received “ineffective counsel” from his lawyers.

Pullman tallied the sentences for the five crimes that Johnson had been convicted of last year. Pullman’s sentence totaled 748 months, or 62 years, and said he would have the sentence for each count run consecutively.

If Johnson did earn the credit for good behavior in prison, he theoretically could be released in about 53 years.

By then he would be more than 100 years old.

The Eagle had reported after the attack, in 2011, that Johnson had an extensive criminal record, including convictions for rape, aggravated sodomy and aggravated incest in 1991 in Finney County. He had been in and out of prison over the years and had been discharged from the Kansas Department of Corrections in 2007.