GONZALES — A Geismar man accused of brutally beating his estranged wife to death Sunday night with a baseball bat had started an anger management class in July as part of a probation program after he was arrested for allegedly choking her — a case authorities say she didn’t want to pursue.
Charlotte Guedry, spokeswoman for 23rd Judicial District Attorney Ricky Babin, said Tuesday that David L. Johnson Sr., 38, was directed into the program after prosecutors were unable to pursue his Dec. 31 arrest on a domestic abuse strangulation because his wife refused to cooperate.
Guedry said Monica Butler Johnson, 45, 12143 Canterbury Park Drive, Geismar, twice came to the District Attorney’s Office asking that prosecutors not charge her husband. She made the same request during her husband’s bail hearing in early January.
Her beaten body was found in her backyard about 11 p.m. Sunday at her Parks of Dutchtown home, and her husband has been arrested in her death.
David Johnson, who was under restraining orders to stay away from his wife, was arrested early Monday morning on counts of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, aggravated burglary with a weapon and violation of protective orders, Ascension Parish sheriff’s deputies said.
Parish Sheriff Jeff Wiley said Johnson, who broke into the house, also broke the arm of Monica Johnson’s 18-year-old son when the teen tried to defend his mother during the attack.
Deputies listed David Johnson’s address as being the same as Monica Johnson’s but she claimed in court papers that her husband moved out in May.
Guedry noted in David Johnson’s Dec. 31 arrest that Monica Johnson refused to give Ascension Parish sheriff’s deputies a statement about the dispute over her cellphone or receive medical treatment.
Guedry said Monica Johnson did agree, however, to be photographed by deputies, and her husband was arrested. He was released on $2,000 bail Jan. 5.
Months later, Monica Johnson would seek a protective order against her husband.
Though she claimed her estranged husband choked her, she had agreed then to drop the count because she thought it was an isolated incident due to her husband’s “recent medical condition” and his medication. The request does not specify what that condition was.
David Johnson was never charged in the alleged domestic abuse incident, but the case was not closed.
Without her cooperation, prosecutors were unable to move forward with the case, Guedry said, so they decided to put David Johnson in the District Attorney’s Probation Program, send him to anger management and place other conditions on him.
Guedry said David Johnson had 18 months to finish the program, which he began in July, while the Dec. 31 domestic abuse count remained pending.
But something changed six months later when Monica Johnson, an admissions administrator at Remington College in Baton Rouge for nearly 13 years, sought a protective order against him. She and others had seen him stalking her when he showed up at a June 19 birthday party she and her 8-year-old son were attending and then later that night appearing on her street.
Deputies did not arrest Johnson after the June 19 incident but gave him a warning not to trespass.
Those and other allegations of stalking and alleged obsessive behavior showed up in her request for a protective order filed June 24, five days after the birthday incident.
“My sons and I are not comfortable in our home,” Monica Johnson wrote.
After the request, a temporary restraining order was granted against David Johnson and then extended on July 6 until Aug. 24, when a hearing officer was set to consider the protective order, court minutes show.
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