Family reacts to arrest in violent Uptown carjacking case

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wwltv.com

Posted on February 28, 2013 at 11:23 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 1 at 12:56 AM

Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: tdall@wwltv.com | Twitter: @taniadall

NEW ORLEANS -- An Uptown man continues to fight for his life after a violent carjacking last fall and now a break in the case.

The NOPD says it has someone in custody and the victim's family is breathing a sigh of relief.

"I showed him the picture of Byron Johnson the suspect. He was able to track with his eyes and look at the suspect, and he seemed very disturbed," said Grace Kaynor, whose husband remains hospitalized after being shot in the chest, stomach and back.

On March 2, it will be five months since Sandy and Grace Kaynor's lives were turned upside down. Last October, the 53-year-old was shot while standing in his driveway on Camp Street. Police now suspect the gunman is Byron Johnson.

"We are happy that this suspect has been taken off the streets and arrested and we're hoping that the other people involved will also be arrested," said Grace during a telephone interview with Eyewitness News.

The NOPD says it arrested the 20-year-old on Wednesday night. Court documents show that a search warrant at Johnson's house uncovered Grace's cell phone that was taken during the violent carjacking and DNA evidence allegedly linking him to the crime.

NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas said the arrest highlights his extensive criminal background.

"On probation, second conviction for carrying a firearm. Why is that man allowed to walk the streets?" Serpas said. According to court documents, Johnson's criminal record dates back to 2010m which includes four illegal carrying of a weapon charges, one auto theft charge, two unauthorized use of a vehicle and one simple burglary charge.

"If I had a chance to prosecute him where I had the evidence, I'd have gone after him aggressively," said Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro.

The district attorney confirms his office had to turn away four police cases against Johnson because the evidence wasn't there.

In other cases, Cannizzaro points out the judge's suspended sentencing allowed the 20-year-old to walk free.

"He did not do the things that he was suppose to do to try and prevent himself from staying in our criminal justice system. Now he finds himself having committed a very, very serious crime where unfortunately an innocent victim is in a very, very serious state," said District Attorney Cannizzaro.

Johnson now faces attempted first-degree murder, aggravated burglary, armed robbery with a firearm, illegal possession of stolen things and motor theft charges.

The NOPD says another arrest in the case is expected soon.

 

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