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18-year-old sentenced to life in prison for murdering 12-year-old in Leavenworth

Jaylen LaRon Johnson.
Jaylen LaRon Johnson.(Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office)
Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 3:35 PM CDT
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LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (KCTV) - An 18-year-old from KCK has been sentenced to life in prison for murdering a 12-year-old in Leavenworth last year.

On May 10, a jury found Jaylen LaRon Johnson guilty of first-degree murder, criminal discharge of a firearm at an occupied vehicle - causing great bodily harm (which garnered a sentence of 216 months), discharge of a firearm into an occupied vehicle (12 month), and criminal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (8 months).

The sentences for the additional charges will run concurrent to the murder sentence. Johnson’s first opportunity for parole will be in 25 years.

The county attorney said that on April 14, 2021, Johnson was in the front seat of a car that Darvon Thomas was driving. Johnson, Thomas, and a third person drove to Kare Pharmacy at 2500 S. 4th St. in Leavenworth to meet people they knew via social media and buy a gun.

When the people selling the gun arrived, they parked across the lot from Thomas’ car. The third person who was with them took $400 in cash over to the sellers’ vehicle. After getting the gun, however, he realized it was only a BB gun and shouted that information at Johnson and Thomas.

The sellers then tried to drive away and Johnson stepped out of the car he was is in, firing a .45 caliber Glock 30 at them. The vehicle was hit 11 times.

There was a 12-year-old in the backseat of that car who was hit several times. He was taken to a local children’s hospital but ultimately died from his injuries.

Thomas was sentenced to 200 months in prison (16.67 years) for his role in this shooting on Feb. 8 after being found guilty of second-degree murder.

Brooke Johnson has a jury trial set to begin on Oct. 31.  A preliminary hearing was held on May 13, where she was bound over for first-degree murder in and two counts of aggravated endangering a child.  She is innocent until proven guilty.

Previous coverage:

Jury finds 18-year-old from KCK guilty of murdering 12-year-old in Leavenworth