JURY REJECTS SELF-DEFENSE ARGUMENT
CONVICTS LOCAL MAN FOR 2010 DEATH
Gila County Attorney Bradley D. Beauchamp announced
that on December 10, 2015, a jury convicted Robert Verdugo
of Manslaughter for the 2010 stabbing death of Scott
Michael Johnson. The jury, which consisted of four men and
four women, deliberated for approximately five hours before
returning the verdict. After the verdict, Verdugo waived his
right to a jury determination of aggravating factors and
admitted that the stabbing caused emotional harm to the
Scott Johnson was stabbed to death on September 18, 2010.
Subsequently, the Globe Police Department, which
investigated the case, submitted it to the County Attorney’s
Office, then under the direction of Daisy Flores. Flores’
office declined to prosecute after concluding that Verdugo’s
actions were justified under Arizona’s self-defense laws.
Beauchamp succssfully ran against Flores in 2012.
After reviewing the Verdugo case and several others which
had previously been declined for prosecution, Beauchamp
determined that Verdugo’s actions were not justified and that
there was a reasonable likelihood of convicting him. The
case was charged and presented to a Gila County Grand Jury.
On December 3, 2014, Verdugo was indicted for
According to Chief Deputy Shawn C. Fuller, who prosecuted
the case, evidence adduced at trial established that on
September 18, 2010, at approximately 12:22 AM, Scott
Johnson, who had been drinking, walked from his parents’
house to the house of a former girlfriend and childhood
friend. Shortly after Scott arrived at the house, the sister of
Scott’s former girlfriend called 911 and indicated that Scott
was intoxicated, wanted to talk to her and her sister, and
would not leave. Verdugo, who was living at the house and
in a relationship with the sister of Scott’s childhood friend,
went outside with a knife.
A witness who lives in the neighborhood testified that
around the time of the stabbing he heard what sounded like
two men yelling at each other and then heard, “Ahh! Ahh!
Ahh!” A Medical Examiner testified that Scott had been
stabbed three times – once in the arm and twice in the
abdomen. The Medical Examiner classified the wound to
Scott’s arm as a “defensive wound.” Verdugo, who remained
at the scene and was providing Scott aid when law
enforcement arrived, was not injured.
Verdugo’s sentencing is set for January 12, 2016, at 9 AM,
before the Honorable Jason R. Holmberg. Verdugo is facing
a mandatory sentence of 7 – 21 years in the Arizona
Department of Corrections.