An alleged drug dealer was sentenced to life in prison for murdering a rival dealer.
Tavaris “40” Johnson, 29, was found guilty by a jury in March of second-degree murder with a firearm for the 2014 fatal shooting of Samuel Edwards, 29.
Johnson put on no defense at the three-day trial. He is still facing charges of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in connection to Edwards’ murder.
At the time Johnson was charged with Edwards’ murder in September 2016, he was in jail on two unrelated cases.
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Assistant State Attorney Art Brown, who prosecuted Johnson, was grateful to Homicide Detective Darryl Davis with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office for picking up the cold case in 2016, he said Friday.
“He picked up this case and was able to make a good case out of it,” Brown said. “So I am very pleased with his work and the outcome.”
On the morning of June 23, 2014, deputies had responded to the 5800 block of 11th Street East to reports of a burglary in progress, but instead found a victim alleging he had been shot. Despite his lack of a gunshot wound, he was on the way to the hospital for a health issue when he told paramedics that there was someone else who had been shot.
Deputies on scene found Samuel Edwards shot dead inside a silver Chevrolet Impala in the 5700 block of the same street.
Johnson is still facing the unrelated charges of aggravated assault, aggravated battery, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and violation of probation for allegedly firing a handgun into the air and at his live-in girlfriend in 2015, according to police. He is also still facing an unrelated charged of armed home invasion for allegedly breaking into a home in the 2100 block of 13th Street West, holding a gun in a woman’s mouth as he demanded money.
He is set to stand trial for both unrelated cases during the two-week trial period that begins July 31.