More than a dozen character witnesses on behalf of Kamal Johnson stood up on Judge Robert F. Gordon’s cue, and after a nod of approval from the presiding judge, were quietly motioned to sit down.
Those filed in the back two rows for Johnson’s trial prepared to make a statement on behalf of the Temple graduate senior in Philadelphia’s Criminal Justice Center Tuesday weren’t needed, as Johnson pled guilty on two counts of disorderly conduct and one count of harassment and was sentenced to nine months of probation.
The roughly 20-minute trial stemmed from a domestic incident in his girlfriend’s apartment on Sept. 27 of last year for which he awaited trial for a year on charges of aggravated assault, unlawful restraint, false imprisonment and recklessly endangering another person. Initial kidnapping charges were later dropped due to a lack of evidence.
In addition to the probation term, Johnson was ordered to 50 hours of community service, enrollment in anger prevention and battery management classes and a stay away order from the complainant.
Although Johnson’s harshest penalty was probation, Gordon still left the 22-year-old with a stern message.
“These domestic incidents are the cases that later turn into our homicides,” Gordan said. “That’s why we take them so seriously.”
Per the advice of his lawyer, Johnson declined the opportunity to speak when given the chance at the end of the proceedings.
Despite the prosecution objecting the request, Johnson was granted permission to keep traveling and participating with Temple’s football team for the remainder of the season.
Andrew Parent can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.