Former Farmers Branch officer gets 10 years in prison for murdering teen

The former Farmers Branch officer convicted of murdering a teen was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Ken Johnson was previously found guilty of fatally shooting 16-year-old Jose Cruz during an off-duty confrontation in 2016. After two days of deliberating, he was sentenced to 10 years in jail for the murder charge. The jury also recommended 10 years of probation.

The former officer was off-duty at the time when he witnessed Cruz and his friend, Edgar Rodriguez, breaking into his car. After chasing them in his own vehicle, he rammed his SUV into their car and began shooting, killing Cruz.

Johnson fired 16 shots into Cruz’s car. Edgar was also injured, but survived the shooting.

Jurors did agree with Johnson's attorneys that it was a crime of sudden passion, which knocked the sentencing down from a maximum of life in prison.

"When people are calling for extreme sentences, it's the best situation in light of the guilty verdict for Ken Johnson to get the lower range,” Johnson’s attorney, Robert Rogers.

After the verdict was read, Johnson had to listen to Cruz's grandmother and cousin directly address him. They expressed their disappointment that the sentence wasn't harsher.

"The family will fight every day, every year, every moment to make sure he serves ten years,” said family spokesperson Carlos Quintanilla. “We will mobilize the family. We will mobilize the community to make sure that he doesn't get out in five years."

“We definitely wanted more because we believe a life is worth more than ten years,” said Dallas County DA Faith Johnson.

Chief Prosecutor Jason Hermes says the case marks a turning point in the willingness of juries to hold police officers responsible when they do great misdeeds.

“I think this is going to continue to evolve. I think in the years to come we are going to see juries more willing to do harsher and longer sentences,” Hermes said. “I wish we had seen that in this case. But again, I think that we did see them hold him accountable."

The 10 years of probation on the aggravated assault charge for wounding the second teenager will run concurrently with the 10-year murder sentence.

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