SANTA ANA -- A convicted double-murderer and self-proclaimed white supremacist who asked to be sentenced to death has been granted his wish.
An Orange County judge sentenced 46 year old Billy Joe Johnson on Monday for murdering his childhood friend in 2002.
Johnson had asked to be sentenced to death because he thought his living conditions at San Quentin prison's Death Row would be better than if he served a life term at Pelican Bay State Prison, defense attorney Michael Molfetta said.
"It's pretty well documented the living conditions are better on Death Row," Molfetta said, where he said Johnson will have a bigger cell and get to watch TV instead of being on lockdown for 23 hours a day.
A jury returned a guilty verdict last month for Johnson and recommended that he should get the ultimate penalty for the March 2002 ambush slaying of former gang colleague Scott Miller, 38.
Johnson, who has lighting bolt tattoos on his neck and a mohawk hairstyle, smiled and laughed quietly when the verdict was announced.
Before the sentencing, the grinning Johnson leaned over and jokingly suggested to Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh that he should join a "group hug" with Johnson and Molfetta.
The judge did not comment on carrying out the jury's death penalty recommendation, except to say that Johnson's crimes "substantially outweighed" any "mitigating factors" that were presented in his favor.
Johnson, a member of Public Enemy Number, a white supremacist gang based in Huntington Beach, was convicted of luring Miller to his execution in an Anaheim alley. Prosecutors said the murder was in retaliation for Miller's decision to be interviewed on a television news show, where he revealed secrets about PEN1.
Johnson is already serving 45-years to life for another murder. To try to convince the jury that he deserved death, Johnson testified he's killed two other people. His attorney says his client figures that by the time his appeals run out, he'll be 65 or 70 years old and won't want to live anyway.
White Supremacist Gets His Wish: The Death Penalty
Billy Joe Johnson, 46 (Photo: Courtesy Orange County District Attorney's Office)