Two days shy of his 52nd birthday Edward Johnson learned he will die in prison.
"I'd like to think that everyone is capable of rehabilitation and redemption. But every once in awhile we run across somebody who clearly is not and I'm afraid, Mr. Johnson, you fit into that category," Vt. Superior Court Judge Michael Kupersmith said.
In April, Johnson was convicted of attempted aggravated murder four years after he kidnapped a Barre woman, tied her up and slashed her throat. She survived and came to court to watch her attacker receive a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
"The defendant is dangerous and needs to be incapacitated and he should never be released from prison," Washington County Prosecutor Tom Kelly said.
Kelly says this type of sentence is extremely rare in Vermont, but fitting for a habitual offender like Johnson. The Barre man is already serving a 20-40 year sentence for touching himself inappropriately outside Montpelier's library and a nearby church. Johnson's criminal history dates back to the 1980s, with more than a decade-long prison stint in the 1990s for a violent attempted sexual assault. He's been convicted of arson and several other lesser sex crimes.
The Barre man spent most of the hearing swiveling in his seat staring blankly at the judge. He declined to defend or apologize for his actions.
"Whatever I say is not going to make a difference today, tomorrow or whenever," Johnson said.
The judge said Johnson is a prime candidate for a mandatory life sentence, calling his crimes unspeakable.
"There is no excuse for them except your own base desires and you need to be removed from society, from civilized people for the protection of us all," Judge Kupersmith said.
Because Johnson was sentence to life in prison, he is automatically entitled to an appeal to the Vt. Supreme Court.
There are only two other habitual offenders in Vermont serving mandatory life sentences.
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