The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Johnson sentenced to prison for Iron probation violation


Ralph Ansami/Daily Globe

NICOLE JOHNSON listens to her prison sentence Thursday in Iron County Court in Hurley, seated next to her attorney, Joseph Hoffmann.


Hurley - A 30-year-old area woman was sentenced to three years in prison and three years of extended supervision Thursday in Iron County Court on a probation violation.

Nicole Johnson, who lists her address as the Iron County Jail but previously resided in Bessemer, was on probation in Iron County on auto theft and child neglect charges.

On Thursday afternoon, she first appeared in court on burglary and auto theft charges related to break-ins along Wisconsin 122 in Saxon on March 21.

Judge Patrick Madden bound her over for trial on those charges and entered not guilty pleas for her, with no future court date set, but the case remaining open.

Johnson was then sentenced on the probation revocation.

Madden followed the recommendation of Iron County District Attorney Matt Tingstad. Madden said because the sentence is for three years and not less, Johnson will be be eligible for counseling and a boot camp program.

"You can't help yourself," said Madden, referring to Johnson's admitted drug use that has resulted in charges in Iron County since 2011.

Her attorney, public defender Joseph Hoffmann, recommended a 230-day sentence, with credit for 173 days served, but Madden ordered the prison sentence.

Madden said Johnson owes the court $1,742 from previous cases and he gave her credit for the 173 days served.

Johnson tearfully said she has lost everything to drugs, including her kids. "I really didn't see a point in trying anymore," she said of her accelerated drug use. "I need help."

She added, "Drug use has taken over everybody I know," calling it an epidemic on the Gogebic Range.

Hoffmann said Johnson has recently discovered she is suffering from Hepatitis C.

Tingstad said Johnson has a "serious drug problem" and she made little effort in the past to comply with her probation requirements, other than to inform the probation agents when she was "using."

In the March 21 incident, Iron County Sheriff's Department investigator Paul Samardich said Johnson entered a garage of a Saxon couple along County B and stole many items, including boots. She later took a car from a nearby residence, Samardich said.

He testified she entered a residence uninvited along U.S. 2 later wearing the boots she stole, along with other items, appearing to be strung out on drugs.

The stolen car was found abandoned with front end damage on Payette Road, a mile away.

Johnson and Matt Maslanka had injected methamphetamine at his Saxon residence on May 20, Samardich said.

She was arrested later that week in Illinois and held on the probation violation.

Hoffmann argued that other than the boots, there was nothing to tie Johnson to the Saxon burglary and car theft counts.

She also faces three misdemeanors for theft and two for entry of a locked vehicle in connection with the Saxon incidents.


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