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Billy Ray Johnson returns to court for restitution hearing

WTAP News @ 10- Bill Ray Johnson
Published: Mar. 24, 2022 at 6:42 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - Billy Ray Johnson was in court for a restitution hearing this Thursday. He entered an Alford plea to voluntary manslaughter for the 2019 death of his brother, Kenneth Wayne Arnott, last year.

The Alford plea is when someone pleads guilty without admitting guilt.

Johnson’s Defense Attorney Eric Powell is challenging the amount of restitution money owed to Arnott’s son, Brandon Allen. Powell said that Allen, while impacted by his father’s death, could not legally be considered a victim - a statement both the judge and Prosecutor Heather Nicholson argued against.

Nicholson said, “..., he is a victim in this case. I think that it would be crazy of us to think that a child of someone who’s been murdered is not going to have repercussions themselves - that they’re not going to feel things and not going to have monetary losses as a result of that.”

Powell said, “He’s not the victim of this crime. He is impacted somewhat by the loss of his father but, as the court took notice of in questioning Mr. Johnson, this was a self-defense case but he took a plea of a felony offense for voluntary manslaughter.”

Nicholson pushed for restitution payment covering Allen’s travel expenses involved in getting to court and getting to Arnott’s funeral on top of therapy costs.

Powell argued against paying for Allen’s emotional support animal, counseling costs, as well as multiple airline-related expenses. He did, however, agree to restitution costs he considered fair like funeral expenses.

There was no official resolution to the restitution disagreements this Thursday.

Johnson is still incarcerated.

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