Home News Gary man receives 23 years after plea in fatal shooting

Gary man receives 23 years after plea in fatal shooting


A Gary man received 23 years in prison Tuesday after Judge Gina Jones accepted a plea deal where he admitted he shot a dog, then gunned down a man trying to protect his girlfriend, killing him.

Jones said she believed Tomecko “Huggie” Johnson was remorseful for causing the July 8, 2020, death of Terrance Turner, 24, during the incident, but it doesn’t change the fact that he unloaded a handgun at another person.

“Nothing I can do or say will make anyone in this room feel better,” Jones said.

Jones heard testimony from the family of both the victim and Johnson before delivering the sentence.

Jones said Johnson’s actions were his alone and changed the lives of everyone in the room, including both families and court staff.

“You walked this path and all these people had to go with you,” Jones said.

Jones said things would be different if Johnson had made different choices that day. She said his sister’s testimony about their conversation two weeks before the shooting shows he knew he needed to do things differently.

“I think it’s unfortunate you are on this path,” Jones said.

Johnson was sentenced to 23 years in the Indiana Department of Correction with two of those years to be served through Lake County Community Corrections. He will get 861 days credit to his sentence for time served and good behavior.

His attorney Casey McCloskey said Johnson would appeal.

Before Jones’ decision, Turner’s father Stan took the stand.

“When you took our son’s life, you took a part of us with him,” he said. “Reflect in your life. If God forgives you, I hope you can forgive yourself.”

His twin sister Tanesha fought back emotion as she spoke urging the court to impose the maximum sentence.

“He is not owed mercy. He sentenced my family and I to a lifetime of grief,” she said.

His older sister Candice Howard said she wanted to speak from the heart.

“It has torn us inside and out,” Howard said, adding how difficult it is to watch the family go through changes caused by the loss of her brother that can never be undone.

“It hurts,” she said, asking how Johnson could sleep at night knowing he took someone’s child while he has children of his own.

“I’m here today to make sure my brother, his life, meant something,” Howard said.

Johnson was not without his supporters. His older sister, Carlyn Thompson, spoke to the court on his behalf seeking leniency.

“First, I want to sincerely apologize. No one should ever have to go through losing a loved one by an act of violence,” Thompson said.

She said her brother is not perfect, but he is a loving person. Her brother has made mistakes and just two weeks before the shooting spoke with her about his need to change his lifestyle and put himself in a better place. Then the shooting occurred.

“He’s made some bad choices. I think he knows what happened and he knows there are consequences for his actions. We will support him. We will be there regardless what his sentence,” Thompson said.

The prosecution argued Johnson has a long rap sheet including three misdemeanor and eight felony convictions.

McCloskey said his client could have gone to court but chose to do the honorable thing and enter the plea. McCloskey said the dogs were attacking his client and he was trying to get them off of him.

“The facts and circumstance of this case are quite unusual. The reality is, if those dogs were not unleashed that day, we wouldn’t be here,” McCloskey said.

Johnson apologized for his actions that day.

“From the bottom of my heart I am truly sorry,” he said. “I pray for him all the time. I never meant to hurt you.”

Police were called around 7 p.m. July 8, 2020, to the 1200 block of Montana Street where they found Turner lying in a vacant lot. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

A woman told police she and Turner were walking their dogs when Johnson showed up at the end of the block with his moped. He had threatened her and Turner in the past over their dogs, charges state. Johnson had been involved with the woman’s relative in the past, according to court records.

As she, Turner and her relative walked, they tried to walk toward a field to avoid him. Johnson asked if they had a problem with him, the affidavit states.

The woman got back into an argument with him, asking why he recently attacked her relative the week before. Johnson pulled out a gun and shot one of her dogs, charges state.

“You’re going to shoot our dog,” Turner said.

Johnson then pointed the gun at the woman. Turner pushed her out of the way, then Johnson “unloaded” the weapon, shooting him multiple times, according to the charges.

Running on “adrenaline,” the woman charged Johnson, trying to get his gun. Johnson hit her over the head with the weapon before her relative tried to break up the fight. His moped got tipped and Johnson ran from the scene, the affidavit states.

Turner was a 2013 Thea Bowmen graduate and a member of the First A.M.E. Church, according to his obituary.

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