The Colorado Court of Appeals denied an appeal Thursday to reduce the sentence of a Mesa County man who is serving 117 years on multiple burglary, car theft and escape charges.
Shane Edward Johnson, 53, initially was convicted in 2008 on seven counts of second-degree burglary, five counts of aggravated motor vehicle theft, four counts of theft, vehicular eluding and a slew of other felonies committed over a month-and-a-half period in 2006.
For that, he received 105 years.
But before he could be given that sentence in September 2008, he escaped from the Mesa County Detention Center using a hacksaw that had been smuggled into the jail, according to court records.
He was later arrested in Mexico in January 2009, but not turned over to the FBI until September 2010. When he was returned to Colorado, he was given another 12 years on the escape charge.
All told, Johnson was convicted on 25 felony charges.
In his latest appeal — the appeals court has denied two previous ones — Johnson tried to argue that his court-appointed defense counsel provided ineffective assistance by calling Johnson and other defense witness liars.
“We agree that defense counsel should not have used the words ‘lie’ and ‘liar’ during his closing arguments,” Judge David Richman wrote in the ruling, which was joined by Judges Lino Lipinsky and Neeti Pawar. “Significantly, however, the district court found that defense counsel made those comments sarcastically, referring to the prosecution’s attack on the credibility of the defense witnesses, to criticize the prosecution’s case.”
Johnson currently is serving his sentence in the Limon Correctional Facility.
He isn’t eligible for parole until March 2049.