Former McLane High School quarterback Herbert Johnson was sentenced Friday to seven years in prison stemming from a 2013 assault conviction.
Johnson, 19, held back tears as the sentence was read in Fresno County Superior Court. He sought probation, but Judge W. Kent Hamlin said that was not possible given the severity of the crime.
Johnson and two other men assaulted Albert Garcia and robbed him of $14 and a two-liter bottle of soda on April 19, 2013. Garcia suffered a broken jaw, a swollen left eye and a bloody face as a result of the attack.
The quarterback had just come off a stellar sophomore season at McLane, where he led the North Yosemite League in total offense, prior to the attack. He was not allowed to play in his junior year and returned to the team as a senior.
On Friday, Johnson’s mother asked for leniency before Hamlin’s decision. Hamlin said he understood Johnson’s remorse and that prison may not be the best thing for him, but he held firm.
“My job is not to feel sorry for Herbert Johnson and his family,” Hamlin said. “I have to consider all of the circumstances, including the interests of Mr. Garcia and the people of this county.”
He continued: “There was no reason to change Albert Garcia’s life for $14 and a two-liter.”
Hamlin also questioned the legal council given to Johnson, who declined a plea deal that would not have given him prison time. After his conviction in July, he faced up to 10 years in prison.
Johnson asked for permission to hug his mother after the sentence was read, and Hamlin allowed it. The teen then broke down, and his mother had to finally urge him to be “be strong now.”