Editor's note: Justin Johnson was sentenced in November 2012 by Judge David Blevins in Whitfield County Superior Court to two years — 92 days to be served in jail and the rest on probation.
A Cleveland, Tenn., man is in jail after law enforcement officials say he allegedly attacked his girlfriend and killed her pet dog.
Justin Johnson, 26, 230 Outlet Road, Cleveland, Tenn., was charged Wednesday by the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office with battery (family violence, first offense) and aggravated cruelty to animals. He remained in the Whitfield County jail without bond as of Thursday afternoon.
According to an incident report, Johnson’s live-in girlfriend, Crystal Coffman, told police she had asked Johnson to “move some items off their bed when he became irate and began striking her on the head with his fists.”
The incident report stated Coffman had swollen eyes, a cut and crooked nose, and a disfigured finger. Coffman was crying and holding a small, black dog that “she stated Mr. Johnson had killed during his assault on her,” according to the incident report.
Coffman’s mother, Kimberly Barb, said Thursday her daughter didn’t feel like talking to a reporter but was home from the hospital and beginning to heal. Barb said the violence began after Coffman questioned Johnson when she was told he had beat up her stepfather he had been living with. Coffman and Johnson had recently moved to a residence on Cleveland Highway in Cohutta.
Barb said the family took Johnson in about three months ago and were allowing him to live with her, her husband and her daughter because he had no place to go. She said when her husband began to question him about not keeping his room clean he turned violent.
“Watch who you deal with,” Barb said. “I know you want to help somebody, but be wary... I really liked him at first. I had no idea he was like this.”