Washington man faces 110 years in prison

October 25, 2012

A Washington man with ties to the indicted former East Washington police chief pleaded guilty Thursday to federal gun charges and now faces up to 110 years in prison.Timothy D. Johnson, 41, of 891 Addison St., pleaded guilty 11 criminal counts, including possession and transfer of silencers and a machine gun and transfer of a firearm to a felon before U.S. District Judge Cathy Bissoon. Johnson was a friend of former East Washington police Chief Donald A. Solomon, who was indicted last year for extortion. Solomon has pleaded not guilty to the charge. A trial date has not yet been set.In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that in or about 2008, Johnson knowingly sold a gun to a convicted felon. In addition, on various dates between Dec. 5, 2010, and Oct. 14, 2011, Johnson unlawfully possessed and transferred silencers and a machine gun. Most of the transactions and conversations preceding the transactions were captured on audio and video recordings supervised by the FBI.Johnson frequently boasted of his ability to manufacture silencers and fully automatic weapons during the investigation, according to prosecutors. After his arrest, Johnson admitted the gun and silencer he possessed and transferred May 18, 2011, were used by him in April 2011 in a drive-by shooting of a car belonging to the boyfriend of his Solomon’s former girlfriend, Patti Jo Metz.One of the bullets from that shooting struck the house, though no one was injured. Johnson told the FBI that Solomon instigated the shooting.According to the FBI, Johnson was part of a group of people from the Washington area who would rob drug houses. Solomon allegedly would provide the group with police information and identify the locations of the drug houses.Solomon is accused of participating in drug deals, selling Tasers to people he thought were dealers and talking about killing Metz and a borough councilman. He was fired by the borough shortly after his indictment.Johnson’s plea was not based on a recommended sentence by federal prosecutors. Instead, his sentence will be up to the judge. He faces up to 10 years in prison on each count, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office said.

Linda Metz has been with the Observer-Reporter since 2000, covering Washington County courts and politics, as well as the city of Washington. She previously was employed by the Tribune Review. She is a graduate of Point Park College, now a university, in Pittsburgh.

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