Update: April 7, 2014


The execution of Nickolus Johnson has been stayed in order to allow him to complete his appeals.



March 25, 2014



Nickolus L. Johnson’s execution is scheduled for 7:10 pm CST, on Tuesday, April 22, 2014, at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institute in Nashville, Tennessee. Thirty-five-year-old Nickolus is convicted of killing Police Officer Mark Vance on November 27, 2004, in Bristol, Tennessee. Nickolus has spent the last six years on Tennessee’s death row.


Nickolus was born in Chicago, Illinois and lived there for two or three years before moving to Bristol, Virginia. Friends who knew Nickolus as a child and teenager testified that he was a “good guy” and a caring person. In 1996, while still a juvenile, he was convicted of concealing merchandise. The following year, he was convicted as an adult for possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute, burglary, and the offense of malicious wounding. Nickolus has two children with two women, one born just three months before shooting Officer Vance. Both women testified that he was a doting and attentive father.


During the late summer of 2004, a 17-year-old girl engaged in consensual sex with then 26-year-old Nickolus Johnson. As a result, the girl ended up pregnant. When Johnson was informed of the pregnancy, he pressured the girl to have an abortion. The girl agreed, but later refused.



On the evening of November 27, 2004, Johnson and the girl argued over the phone about the abortion. When the telephone call ended, Johnson went to the girl’s residence with two guns. Also at the residence was the girl’s twin sister and two friends. Johnson claims his concern that evening was that the girl’s father would have him arrested for statutory rape upon learning of the pregnancy. The girl called her father, telling him there was a man at the house threatening her with a gun. The father was previously unaware of the relationship between the two. The father called the police to report what his daughter had told him. When informed that the police were on the way, Johnson said he would “shoot in the face” the first person who walked through the door of the residence.


The police arrived at the home and Officer Vance went in the front door. Almost immediately, he was shot in the face at close range by Johnson.


Following the shooting, two black men emerged from the house, one of which was Johnson. Police officers ordered them down on the ground. A female emerged shortly after, holding a gun between her thumb and forefinger, yelling at the men. She was instructed to drop the gun and get down on the ground. The three were handcuffed.


When a police officer questioned Johnson as to what went on inside the residence, he responded, “I shot the [expletive].” When asked who he shot, Johnson replied, “I shot the [expletive] cop. I shot him in the head. He’s dead. There ain’t no need in going in there. The [expletive]’s dead.” Johnson was laughing during the exchange. When asked why he shot the officer, Johnson replied that he did not call the cops, nor did he want them there.


The remaining officers attempted to provide medical assistance to Officer Vance once they entered the residence. Officer Vance died from his injuries on the way to the hospital.


Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Officer Mark Vance. Please pray for strength for the family of Nickolus Johnson. Please pray that Nickolus may come to find peace through a personal relationship through Jesus Christ, if he has not already.