Jackie Johnson: Brunswick District Attorney criticized for handling of several high-profile cases loses re-election bid

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — The longtime District Attorney of Brunswick, Georgia, criticized for her handling of several high-profile criminal cases, was ousted by voters on Tuesday.

Brunswick attorney Keith Higgins, an independent, defeated the Republican incumbent Jackie Johnson 53% to 47%.

Johnson was most recently criticized for her handling of the investigation into the February shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery.

One of the men charged with murder in Arbery’s death used to work in Johnson’s office.

Johnson, who was first appointed DA in 2010, has been accused in the past of giving special treatment to law enforcement.

Now it seems voters have given the controversial district attorney their final decision, voting her out of office.

RELATED: Results for Northeast Florida races | Results for Southeast Georgia races

One of the most controversial cases that put Johnson in the national spotlight happened in 2010.

Two Glynn County police officers fired into a car driven by Carolyn Small. The unarmed 35-year-old mother was hit 8 times and died.

Johnson ruled the shooting justified. One of the officers exonerated was Lt. Cory Sasser.

Sasser is the same officer who would years later become emotionally unstable.

RELATED STORY: Law enforcement may have been aware of Sasser’s state of mind before murder, documents show

Johnson’s office was criticized for a reportedly ignoring a call for Sasser’s arrest.

Days later, Sasser gunned down his estranged wife, another man and himself.

RELATED: Documents leave questions why Sasser wasn’t arrested before killings

Fast forward to this year: Johnson, under investigation for her handling of Arbery’s shooting death.

Arrests would come months later, but only after public outcry when video surfaced of the shooting.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are now involved in the internal probe of Johnson’s office.

We called Johnson’s office on Wednesday for reaction to her reelection loss. Our calls were not returned.

Higgins, a former prosecutor, is an independent; interestingly, he first had to get enough signatures to be placed on the ballot.

He replaces Johnson as DA in January.

Comments on this article