LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) — A criminal defense attorney says Lakeland police falsely accused a 23-year-old woman of being a convicted felon to arrest her in connection with a shooting that killed a man in Lakeland over the weekend.
“She’s not a convicted felon,” said Jeff Holmes, a Bartow-based criminal defense attorney representing the woman, Jamilah Johnson.
Holmes said he knows that because he represented Johnson in her prior case, which ended in April 2022 after she entered a plea of no contest to a carrying a concealed weapon charge.
As part of the plea deal, the charge was downgraded to a misdemeanor, court records show.
Holmes says Johnson has never been convicted of a felony.
“Since she wasn’t a convicted felon and the only charge they originally arrested her for was possession by a convicted felon, she never should have been arrested,” said Holmes.
Johnson’s is the only arrest Lakeland police have announced in connection to a deadly shooting outside Jade Fox Lounge early Saturday morning.
She was arrested over the weekend on a possession of a firearm by a convicted felon charge.
Rapper Raheem Bacon, 25, known as 350Heem, was shot and killed in the parking lot following his own album release party, his family told News Channel 8.
“Our family is so broken. Like, we can’t even imagine it. I wake up and I just hope it’s a dream,” his aunt Elecia Crawford Sullivan said in an interview Monday.
A Lakeland police spokeswoman said detectives charged Johnson on the gun charge this weekend “based on her criminal history information received from the Florida Crime Information Center (FCIC) on the date the incident occurred.”
“This remains an open and active investigation with new evidence being provided as late as yesterday. As additional information continues to come forward, detectives must make sure all evidence is thoroughly examined, verified and vetted,” police spokeswoman Stephanie Kerr wrote in a statement.
The state’s attorney’s office declined to comment.
In addition to the gun charge, police added on a charge of aggravated battery against Johnson this week.
“The judge set the bond at $100,000 which we thought was excessive but again it’s a high profile case. They rarely will cut any slack for a suspect initially in case like this,” said Holmes.
She remains in jail.
Holmes said Johnson’s family provided cell phone videos of Saturday morning’s incident to police, which show she acted in self-defense after her mother was hurt. He did not provide the videos to News Channel 8.
“That’s part of the self-defense statute in Florida. If somebody shoots your mom in front of your eyes, you don’t just stand there,” said Holmes.
According to Holmes, Johnson’s 48-year old mother is still in the hospital.