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Killer of Ventura County Sheriff's Deputy Is Sentenced to Death

April 28, 1998|From a Times Staff Writer

VENTURA — Convicted cop killer Michael Raymond Johnson was sentenced to death Monday after the victim's family tearfully described the loss of the 26-year-old officer.

Superior Court Judge Steven Z. Perren followed a jury's recommendation as he ordered the execution of Johnson, who fatally shot Ventura County Sheriff's Deputy Peter J. Aguirre in 1996.

Aguirre's widow, Enedina, looked Johnson in the eye Monday and said she hoped he would "burn in hell."

"People like you do not deserve to live," she told him. "You do not deserve to breathe the same air we breathe. I hope to God I will be there the day you die--that's all I want to see is the same pain and agony you saw in Peter's eyes."

The deputy was shot four times while responding to a domestic disturbance call.

Johnson fired the final shot at point-blank range into Aguirre's forehead, evidence showed. Jurors said it was the final shot that persuaded them that Johnson should die.

Marie Aguirre, the officer's mother, spoke through tears Monday and clenched the podium for support as she asked Johnson why he killed her son.

"Two years after his death, our lives have come to a standstill," she said. "It's as if he died last night. . . . I want to ask Michael Johnson, what right did he have to kill Peter Aguirre? Where was the mercy?"

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