Martese Johnson Expected to Enter Not Guilty Pleas

Posted: Updated: Apr 06, 2015 08:41 PM
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The University of Virginia student arrested by Alcoholic Beverage Control agents last week plans to plead not guilty at his first court hearing.

Twenty-year-old Martese Johnson is set for a hearing Thursday morning, March 26, on charges of public intoxication and obstruction of justice stemming from the incident on the university's Corner.

The law office representing Johnson says the commonwealth attorney's office has asked to continue the case until the last week of May so that State Police can complete an investigation of the arrest.

Investigators say they've fielded dozens of phone calls and emails, and collected videos and photographs relevant to the case.

Release from Williams Mullen:

Martese is doing well physically. He visited the doctor this weekend to follow up on his injuries because he was concerned about some swelling, but he was not admitted to the hospital. He's home now and continuing to recover.

Today, Daniel Watkins met with the Allen Groves, Dean of Students at UVA; Dr. Marcus Martin, UVA VP and Chief Officer for Diversity; Kevin Badke, the owner of the Trinity Irish Pub, and his lawyer. They all have said the same thing: moments prior to what the now viral video presents, Martese was polite and well-mannered.

Mr. Johnson has a court date on Thursday (March 26) at 10am, at which he will enter a plea of not guilty. As Mr. Watkins and Mr. Johnson focus on preparing for the hearing, they are continuing to refrain from any media interviews at this time.

In the meantime, the Commonwealth's Attorney office has asked to continue the case until the last week of May so the Virginia State Police can complete its investigation. At that time, the prosecutor will determine whether it wishes to proceed with the two charges against Martese.

As a nice side note, an Indiegogo account was started over the weekend by the group UVA Alumni for Change in conjunction with Mr. Johnson's fraternity brothers (the group and the fundraising account have been vetted by Mr. Watkins) and was able to raise $6,000 within a matter of hours. Right now, nearly $10,000 has been donated to the fund.

(There is also a GoFundMe account called Justice For Martese that has raised more than $5k, but it has not yet been vetted).

Press release from Virginia State Police:

APPOMATTOX CO. – The Virginia State Police expresses its sincere appreciation to the many citizens who have contacted the Department with tips, information, video, etc., concerning the March 18, 2015, arrest of a 20-year-old male in the City of Charlottesville. The investigation focuses on the circumstances surrounding and actions of Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) special agents during the arrest of Martese Johnson, 20, of Chicago, Ill.

Since the investigation was initiated the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation's Appomattox Field Office has fielded more than two dozen emails and phone calls concerning the March 18 incident. In addition, state police agents have conducted numerous interviews, and collected and reviewed video, photographs, and other evidence that have proven critically important to the investigation.

State police reminds anyone who witnessed the incident or has information concerning the March 18 incident to email state police at vfc@vsp.virginia.gov or call 1-877-482-8477. The arrest occurred at about 12:45 a.m. Wednesday (March 18) in the 1500 block of University Avenue in Charlottesville.

The comprehensive investigation remains ongoing and will take weeks to complete. The administrative review is being handled through the Virginia State Police Professional Standards Unit. The criminal investigation is being done in coordination with the City of Charlottesville Commonwealth's Attorney.

  • Sign Up for Email Alerts

    Sign up to receive news, weather, and breaking news emails from the NBC29 newsroom in your inbox daily.

    * denotes required fields

    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.