POCATELLO — In formally charging Michael Lane Sparks with first-degree murder on Thursday, officials also revealed a scant few additional details about the “heinous act” he allegedly perpetrated on his estranged wife, Judith Rachel Johnson.
“Michael lane sparks ... on or about the second day of may, 2011 with premeditation and malice of forethought did willfully and deliberately murder Judith Johnson, a human being, by striking the victim about the head and/or body with a rifle and/or baseball bat,” read Bannock County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Vic Pearson from the charging document.
Pearson read the document during a news conference hosted at the offices of the Pocatello Police Department Thursday morning. He said bond in the case had been set at $500,000 during the press conference, but court records show that Sixth District Magistrate David Kress increased that bond to $1,000,000 during Sparks’ initial hearing.
That hearing was held at Portneuf Medical Center Thursday afternoon, during which time Kress also set Spark’s preliminary hearing for May 19 at 9:30 a.m.
Pocatello Police Chief James “J.R.” Miller spoke after Pearson, first thanking prosecutors for “expediting” the charges given the logistical concerns of having a suspect in the hospital.
He then turned his attention to what he called a growing problem in Pocatello, saying that it’s not only important for the community to understand “the heinous act of this homicide and this woman being bludgeoned to death in front of her children at her residence, but about the domestic violence issues we are seeing in our community.”
Read more in today's Idaho State Journal.