Man gets life for carjacking that led to deadly crash in Topeka

TOPEKA (KSNT) – Darren Johnson has been sentenced to life in prison for a murder charge that stems from a Topeka carjacking in June 2020. In addition to the life sentence, the court ordered Johnson to serve an additional consecutive 94 months for the aggravated robbery charge.

On June 22, 2020, officers responded to a 4:00 a.m. call from the owner of a KIA Soul. The man reported to the police that two known men physically assaulted him and stole his 2011 Kia Soul near S.E. Sage and Indiana. An hour later law enforcement saw the vehicle and attempted to stop the men.

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Officers reportedly saw the Kia Soul near 21st and Adams run a red light and lose control of the car, swerving into the opposing lanes of traffic and colliding head-on with another vehicle.

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The backseat passenger of the KIA Soul, Ricardo Rodriguez, 20, was killed and pronounced dead at the scene of the collision. Johnson, who was driving the Soul was taken to the hospital and treated.

According to Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay, a jury convicted Johnson of murder in the first degree, committed during an inherently dangerous felony, murder in the second degree, fleeing or attempting to elude, and aggravated robbery.

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The court sentenced Johnson today to life in prison for the murder charge. He will be required to serve a minimum of 25 years before he is eligible for parole on that charge. The Court also sentenced Johnson to serve an additional sentence of 94 months for the aggravated robbery charge.