SANDUSKY, Ohio (WJW) – A convicted killer will remain behind bars for at least the next several months.
Erie County Common Pleas Court Judge Tygh Tone on Wednesday reversed his March order granting the release of 57-year-old DeWitt McDonald Jr.
The decision came a month after a special prosecutor with the state attorney general’s office appealed the judge’s original ruling ordering that McDonald be released. The Sixth District Court of Appeals sent the case back to the judge in April.
“The Special Prosecutor has always maintained that the court had no jurisdiction to issue an order releasing Dewitt McDonald Jr. from prison for the aggravated murder of Vivian Jonson,” said Erie County Prosecutor Kevin Baxter. “So we are pleased to see the court acknowledge that fact.”
McDonald’s attorney could not be reached to discuss the decision.
Prosecutors say McDonald shot and killed Vivian Johnson in June 1994 while she sat in a parked car on East Parish Street in Sandusky.
McDonald is being held in a prison in Richland County. According to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, McDonald has a parole hearing in August. His family told the I-Team in March that he is innocent and should be released.
Family members of Vivian Johnson, who was killed, had publicly urged the judge to reconsider his decision to free McDonald.
Sharon McGill, who was injured in the 1994 shooting, also told the I-Team in April she felt McDonald deserved to stay behind bars.