An Angelina County district court judge has brought the hammer down on a 33-year-old Diboll woman who was recently convicted of having sex with a 13-year-old boy. Despite a tearful apology and plea for forgiveness, judge Barry Bryan sentenced Natalie Johnson to 25 years in prison.
According to the Lufkin Daily News, Johnson told the court she was addled by drugs and booze when her monthlong relationship with the boy was ongoing. She claimed that she was trying to cope with her mother's terminal illness and often resorted to marijuana and crystal meth, though never, she told the court, when the boy was around. On those occasions, she said, she stuck strictly to tequila, but also admitted that she got the boy drunk at least once.
According to earlier published reports, the couple had sex approximately seven times last summer. Johnson was a longtime friend of her victim's parents and had a 13-year-old son of her own.
The boy would rendezvous with Johnson after sneaking out of his grandparents' home in the middle of the night. Some of the encounters took place in a park and others in Johnson's apartment. Investigators later found over 1,500 calls and text messages between Johnson and the boy.
Jessica Cooley of the Lufkin Daily News was at the trial and we'll let her pick up the story:
"I'd like to ask all of you for your forgiveness," Johnson said through tears to the victim's family. "This wasn't something I would normally do and I'm truly, truly sorry."
As Johnson has been a friend of the victim's family for years and has a 13-year-old son of her own, the boy's mother said the apology fell on deaf ears.
"I wanted to tell her 'how would you feel if I did this to your son?'" the boy's mother said shaking her head. "Twenty-five years was what I wanted. I wanted my son to be old enough to handle it when she gets out of prison."
Cooley also reported that Johnson's attorney tried to make hay with the fact that Johnson had never run afoul of the law before this incident. Prosecutor Layne Thompson shredded that argument by pointing out that she admitted to committing felonies -- purchasing and using meth, specifically -- right there in court.
"To say you have no felony charges really just means you're lucky, doesn't it?" Thompson asked. Cooley reported that Johnson was "snappy" when she answered in the affirmative.
Johnson had been behind bars since August, so she will have a healthy head start on her sentence.
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