Malik Johnson sentenced to 28 to 35 years in the 2017 shooting death of Jeffrey Ramsey

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 7, 2018

SALISBURY — A local man charged with the 2017 murder of Jeffrey Allen Ramsey Jr. outside Three Stars Mini Mart was sentenced Monday to 28 to 35 years in prison in a plea arrangement.

Malik Eric Johnson, 22, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of a weapon on prison premises, and robbery with a dangerous weapon.

On Aug. 12, 2017, Johnson met Ramsey at the convenience store, located at North Main and 11th streets. An argument ensued, and Johnson shot Ramsey, who was in the passenger side of a vehicle. The driver told police she had one leg out of the car when the single gunshot rang out. She ran to the back of the car, and Johnson ran away with a black bag that Ramsey had with him.

The woman drove Ramsey to the hospital, where he later died.

According to his interview with police, which was read in court, Johnson said Ramsey owed him money and he shot the 24-year-old because he thought Ramsey was going for a gun under his seat.

Court testimony showed Johnson stole a bag containing marijuana from Ramsey. Johnson told police he smoked the marijuana in the days after the murder and took a number of Xanax pills.

Superior Court Judge Anna Mills Wagoner said all of the offenses would be consolidated and Johnson would serve one sentence instead of individual sentences for each offense. Johnson could have received life in prison on the second-degree murder charge.

Johnson has been in the Rowan County Detention Center since his August 2017 arrest.

Rowan County District Attorney Brandy Cook said that on July 12, Johnson assaulted another inmate with a flattened battery made to look like a razor blade. He told authorities he and the inmate had a misunderstanding that led to a verbal altercation. The other inmate received cuts to his face.

Cook said Ramsey was close to his family, had four children and enjoyed rebuilding cars.

Through tears, Crystal Norman, Ramsey’s mother, told the court how the murder of her only son had affected her family. She said when Johnson first moved to their neighborhood, her son protected him from a group of guys who tried to beat him up.

She said her son had friends who had gone to prison and left children behind that her son helped look after.

“My whole soul is ripped out of me,” Norman said.

Norman said she doesn’t hate Johnson but just wants to know why he killed her son.

“Us as black people, we have to find a better solution to doing the things we do,” she said.

Norman said every time she looks at her grandsons, she sees a part of her son.

“I hate that he has to be away from his family,” Norman said.

Haley Mahaffey, who is the mother of Jeffrey Ramsey’s daughter and son, said the hardest thing she’s had to do is tell her daughter that her father is dead. She was pregnant with their son at the time of Ramsey’s death.

Mahaffey said when she explained to their daughter about the court case, the 6-year-old said she wanted justice for her father and she didn’t want Johnson to be able to “kill anybody else’s daddy.”

Star Glenn, a stepsister of Ramsey, said her brother had a heart of gold.

Allison Smith, who is the mother of Jeffrey Ramsey’s other son, said the child was 2 months old when his father was killed.

“He didn’t have to kill him,” Smith said of Johnson.

Jasmine Ramsey, a sister of Jeffrey Ramsey, said the family forgives Johnson and hopes he can forgive himself. She said she understands that people made mistakes, but this was one that Johnson could not come back from.

She said she hopes Johnson will make a change while incarcerated and come out a better man.

Johnson stood to say he was sorry and he knew his apology wouldn’t change the outcome.

“I will try to be better. I do think about it late at night,” Johnson said.

He said he regrets his decision that day.

“I’m sorry,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s attorney, John Basinger, told the court that Johnson’s mother was present to support him.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.