CROWN POINT — Hours after a woman and her sons appeared Friday in state court, a federal magistrate judge unsealed a criminal complaint alleging they kidnapped and attempted to kill a relative of a witness slated to testify against one of the sons.
Patricia Carrington, 46, and her sons, Jarod Johnson, 22, and Jaron Johnson, 20, were advised Friday morning in Lake Criminal Court of bond in each of their cases.
Each must now remain in jail pending an appearance in U.S. District Court, where they will have a right to request a detention hearing. Online court records did not yet list a date for their initial appearances in Hammond federal court.
Carrington's attorney, James Thiros, told Lake Criminal Court Judge Salvador Vasquez he was withdrawing a motion for a bond reduction hearing. Thiros did not return a call seeking comment Friday afternoon.
Carrington and Jarod Johnson were being held on a bond of $160,000 surety or $16,000 cash in their state cases, while Jaron Johnson's bond was $150,000 surety or $15,000 cash.
Now that each faces a federal charge of kidnapping, the Lake County prosecutor's office likely will drop charges in the alleged abduction and shooting April 14 in Gary.
Jarod Johnson still faces a trial in state court on charges alleging he shot the witness and her boyfriend in 2017 in Gary. She was pregnant at the time. She, the boyfriend and their child survived.
Mark Gruenhagen, Jarod Johnson's attorney in the 2017 case, asked that a May 13 trial set last week be continued. Vasquez set a status hearing for May 9.
U.S. Attorney Thomas Kirsch II condemned any intimidation of witnesses in a news release announcing the federal charges.
"Intimidation of witnesses, whether in state court cases or federal court cases, is completely intolerable," Kirsch said. "My office will not hesitate to devote federal resources to bring individuals who engage in this lawless behavior to justice."
Lake County Prosecutor Bernie Carter filing charges in the federal system was the best avenue for pursing the case.
The federal complaint included several new details not included in state court records.
The woman told authorities she was walking near a cemetery on Ridge Road when a car pulled off the road in front of her to cut her off April 14. Jarod Johnson got out and hit her in the back of the head with a handgun before forcing her into the car, court records say.
Jarod Johnson bound the woman's hands behind her with duct tape, while Carrington placed a sock over her eyes and taped it in place, records allege. The woman told police she heard Jarod Johnson say, "I'm the Grim Reaper" during the ride.
As they questioned the woman about her relative's whereabouts, Jarod Johnson placed the woman over his lap in the backseat and beat her in the face and legs and choked her, records say. Carrington allegedly pulled her hair.
They allegedly drove her to an abandoned home in Gary, where Jarod Johnson pulled her out of the car and grabbed her by the neck and hood, the complaint alleges.
The woman, who remained blindfolded, felt the ground was wet and began pleading for her life because she believed she was being led into a body of water to be drowned, court records say.
Carrington spoke into the woman's ear just before she was shot in the face, according to the complaint.
The woman fell to the ground and didn't move. She heard Carrington say, "Let's go," but Jarod Johnson said, "No Ma, no Ma. She's playing dead. She's not dead," records allege.
The woman heard four or five more shots, one of which grazed her arm, the complaint says. The others drove into the ground.
Left for dead
The woman told police she heard the car leave and waited about 20 minutes before getting up and seeking help from neighbors.
Jarod Johnson was wearing a GPS ankle monitor because he was on pretrial release in the 2017 case. The monitor had a GPS ping in the 1400 block of East 44th Place about the time of the alleged shooting, records say.
An FBI investigator went to the area where the ping was detected and found a piece of duct tape at the house next door, blood in the grass and four spent bullet casings, records say.
Authorities also have learned the name of a woman who allegedly was present with an infant during the abduction, but got out of the car at some point. That woman has not been charged.
During court Friday, Carrington spent much of the time scanning faces in the gallery. She rolled her eyes as a defense attorney called an inmate to the stand during a bond review hearing unrelated to her case.
When Jarod Johnson was brought into the courtroom, Carrington was at the defense podium. He winked at her.