Defendant rejects plea in slaying of Fort Worth woman

Posted Tuesday, May. 07, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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A man accused of killing a 33-year-old mother of two and seriously wounding her mother rejected a plea deal Monday that would have netted him a 55-year prison sentence.

Eugene Esters, 48, is expected to stand trial this week in the slaying of Jennifer Johnson, the sister of Chris Johnson, a cornerback for the Super Bowl-winning Baltimore Ravens football team.

Esters’ sentence could be from 5 to 99 years in prison if he convicted of the murder charge. If he had accepted the plea arrangement, he would have been eligible for parole after 27 years and six months.

Jennifer Johnson’s two daughters, who were 3 and 14 years old when she was killed, are living with Chris Johnson, his wife and their three children. Johnson said that his family was surprised by Esters’ rejection of the plea agreement but that the family is ready to move through the trial together and support one another.

“We are just ready to get this out of the way and move forward,” Johnson said outside state District Judge Robb Catalano’s courtroom Monday morning. “I kind of expected that this would be a short thing, just today. But I trust the prosecutors will be able to get justice for my sister.”

Jennifer Johnson and her mother, Della Johnson, were shot in the parking lot of the La Plaza apartment complex off Woodhaven Boulevard in east Fort Worth the afternoon of Dec. 5, 2011. Esters had been living with Jennifer Johnson at La Plaza, but she had told him to move out, according to a police report.

Esters told police that he slept in his car the night before the shooting. Della Johnson, 53, arrived at her daughter’s home to help jump-start her daughter’s car. Esters and Jennifer Johnson argued and he shot both women, the report said.

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

Mitch Mitchell, 817-390-7752 Twitter: @mitchmitchel3

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