Botched burglary near Millington nets man 23 years in prison

Daniel Jay Johnson (Tuscola County Sheriff's Department)
Daniel Jay Johnson (Tuscola County Sheriff’s Department)

A 22-year-old homeless man was sentenced Monday to more than 23 years in prison for attempting to burglarize a Millington area home and nearly killing its 73-year-old homeowner with a propane tank.
Tuscola County Circuit Court Judge Amy Grace Gierhart sentenced Daniel Jay Johnson to a minimum of 23 years, nine months in prison (maximum 60 years).
Gierhart’s ruling came about a month after Johnson pleaded no contest to armed robbery involving serious injury, first degree home invasion, and assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder.
As The Advertiser previously reported, Johnson admitted to police that he had fallen on hard times and as a result, tried to burglarize the home of Richard Blakeley Keiter in the Murphy Lake area near Millington in the early morning hours of April 22.
Keiter returned home as Johnson was mid-burglary, and Johnson bashed him in the head with a propane tank and threatened to kill him if he didn’t open a safe before fleeing. Keiter had to spend several days in the hospital and received five staples, 18 stitches and had bleeding in the brain.
Immediately prior to Gierhart’s sentencing, it was stressed several times by different parties that Johnson didn’t run when he was caught mid-burglary.
“You know, (Johnson) made the choice to stay,” said Christopher Keiter, son of Richard Keiter, when given a chance to address the court Monday. “He could have went out the door that was 10 feet away, probably left, never got caught.
“But he wanted money, he wanted guns…he chose to stay and hurt my father and beat him over the head with an iron cylinder, threaten him with his life, that he was gonna kill him if he didn’t let him in that safe.” (Read more)

(This story originally appeared in the Nov. 9, 2016 issue of The Tuscola County Advertiser and can be read in full here.)

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