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Imitation Of Life

April 27, 1986|Lewis Beale

Convicted mass murderer Bruce Johnston Sr., played by Christopher Walken in "At Close Range," is serving six consecutive life terms in a Pittsburgh prison. But he and a friend were acquitted April 18 in Johnston's latest adventure.

Johnston, 47, and Jose Lopez, 32, were found not guilty of the burning death of George Arms, 28, whom the prosecution contended was murdered in retaliation for the theft of a TV from Johnston's cell. The verdict didn't sit well with the judge, who told the defendants, "You ought to get down on your knees--no, you ought to crawl out of here on your knees--for the verdict of this jury. You beat the system."

As he was led from the courtroom, Johnston winked and grinned at a reporter--the kind of chilling charm that Walken gives the character in the film.

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