19-year-old Mauricio Johnson pleaded guilty to three counts of first degree murder on Tuesday after he was connected to the shooting of a family in California. The teen murdered the family after he was caught in the young girl’s bedroom by her stepfather.
The teen also admitted to three special allegations of using a firearm when murdering Nikki Metcalf, 40, Margarett Moon, 40, and Shelly Autumn Mae Moon, 16. He got a 150-year prison sentence with possibility of parole in 25 years.
By pleading guilty, Mauricio Johnson avoided life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The shooting happened on February 9 2021 in Humboldt County, Calif. According to reports, Johnson had been invited over to the Moon household by a group of young people, reportedly 16-year-old Shelly Moon and her cousins.
According to reports, Johnson was a friend of the family’s and welcome in the home.
At around 3 a.m. the young people were caught drinking by Margarett Moon who kicked most of them out. Johnson stayed and was later caught by Metcalf in Shelly’s room while the two were getting intimate.
Testimony from Shelly’s 13-year-old sister, said that Metcalf and Johnson reportedly got into a struggle and the stepfather hit the young man before Johnson ran from the room while pulling up his pants.
The teen then pulled a gun from his backpack and shot the stepfather in the head. The gunshot alerted Margarett Moon, who was sleeping.
“[Margarett Moon] walked into the room and Mauricio Johnson shot her. Mauricio Johnson then shot [Shelly] because he did not want to have any witnesses,” the warrant stated.
Two were pronounced dead on the scene, while Margarett Moon was taken to the hospital where she later passed away. The mother’s two other children, an 11- and 13-year-old, were left unarmed and they called 911 to report the shooting.
When police arrived to the crime scene early in the morning, they enlisted the help of Utah and Nevada police departments to help locate the suspect.
After the shooting, Mauricio Johnson drove off in his mother’s car with his mother’s boyfriend, Von Eric Keener, 46. They were followed by Johnson’s mother, Melissa Sanchez Johnson, in another car and the three of them fled the state and were later caught by police.
Police caught up with them in Utah on February 11 2021 at around 1:30 a.m. because of a dealership tracking device that was attached to one of the cars. Johnson’s mother pulled over while her son and boyfriend drove off and led police into a high speed chase.
Officers were able to stop them by using a spike strip. According to the trio, they were going to visit a family friend in Indiana. Johnson was arrested for the murders while Keener was arrested for an outstanding warrant that he had in Humboldt County. The boy’s mother was brought into custody, but later released after questioning.
The teen fought extradition from Utah, but was later returned to California in March 2021.
Mauricio Johnson is scheduled to appear in court for sentencing on January 21 2022.
Last week Humboldt County reported that Melissa Johnson’s boyfriend, Von Eric Keener, had disappeared and violated his parole. Police believe that he removed his ankle bracelet before fleeing the county.
After his disappearance, a spokesperson for the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department said, “I can confirm [Keener] removed his ankle monitor and is now wanted for violation of parole. His location is currently unknown. He is believed to have been staying in the Loleta area prior to this.”
Keener was previously charged with failure to contact his parole officer in 2008, sexual battery in 2007 and then a list of crimes in 2013, which included kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon.
Officers are asking anyone with information on his location to contact police at (707) 445-7251.