May 13th, 2009
09:09 PM ET

Justice for all?

Editor’s Note: Tune in tonight to watch Gary Tuchman’s full report on AC360

Gary Tuchman
AC360° Correspondent

Morehouse College is a very prestigious school. It's website describes the school as "the best college in the nation for educating African-Americans."

When you graduate from the all male school, you have brothers who will watch your back for life. That's why this particular tale is so troubling. Because we know at least two of the students won't be so fond of looking after each other in the future because one of them shot the other with a gun.

The chairs are already set up for Saturday's commencement at Morehouse. About 500 men will graduate. One of the students about to get his degree is Joshua Brandon Norris. He is the guy who fired the gun; three times as a matter of fact at a student named Rashad Johnson. And that's the twist here.

Because he was shot, Rashad Johnson is no longer a Morehouse student. Johnson was hurt physically and emotionally and decided to go back to his family in California to recuperate. And then found out that even though Norris pleaded no contest to shooting him, the college decided to allow him to continue being a Morehouse student. And that came after a most unusual court sentencing.

Even though Norris faced the possibility of 20 years in prison for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, the prosecutor cut a deal with him. Plead no contest, and we will give you probation, a fine, community service, and a demand that you finish college. The shooter accepted the deal and went back to Morehouse, while his victim was no longer a "Morehouse Man."

The decision by the prosecutor is now being ridiculed; notably by the prosecutor's boss. The prosecutor quit, but District Attorney Paul Howard says he would have fired him if he didn't quit. The DA has apologized to the victim's family and says prison time should have been sought by the prosecutor. Why did the prosecutor cut the deal? His boss doesn't know, and we have not been able to locate the prosecutor to ask him.

The attorney for the shooter says the no contest plea does not imply guilt. As a matter of fact, the defense attorney tells us his client "is innocent," felt "his life was threatened" and "was defending himself."

But the victim, Rashad Johnson doesn't beleive any of that is true. He is now going to Sacramento CIty College, and knows he wants to be a laywer. He also knows he no longer wants to be a Morehouse Man.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Crime & Punishment • Gary Tuchman
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Scott Stodden

    I believe Mr Norris should be sent to prison and accept his charges like a man. This is such a tragedy that didnt need to happen and the Moorehouse College people should be ashamed for letting this man graduate, wake up people guns is not the answer.

    May 13, 2009 at 9:55 pm |
  2. Rikki, Fargo, ND

    Gary, you always do a sensational job reporting....I always find your stories so interesting and can't wait to see this one too! 🙂

    May 13, 2009 at 9:37 pm |
  3. julliet

    This is a sad and bizzare story. Why did the shooter fell threatened by his victim?

    May 13, 2009 at 9:24 pm |