August 4, 2022
A Union County jury has returned a guilty verdict against a man who slashed the throat of a Rahway man last year, Union County First Assistant Prosecutor James O. Tansey announced today.
Michael G. Johnston, 45, of Winfield Park was found guilty last Thursday on one count each of second-degree aggravated assault, third-degree aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, third-degree possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes, and fourth-degree unlawful possession of a weapon following a two week trial before Union County Superior Court Judge Robert Kirsch. The jury deliberated for approximately three hours before returning its verdict.
At approximately 1:45 a.m. on August 30, 2021, A Rahway Police Department patrol unit was in the area of CVS on the 800 Block of Saint George’s Avenue when he was approached by a 25-year-old male who was bleeding from his neck, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Melissa Caparruva who prosecuted the case. The victim was stabilized and transported to University Hospital where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries, Caparruva stated.
An investigation led by Detectives from the Rahway Police Department quickly resulted in Johnston being identified as a suspect in the case. Soon thereafter, he was arrested at his home in Winfield Park and remanded to the County Jail pending the outcome of the trial.
At trial, it was revealed that Johnston and the victim were at Butch Kowal’s Tavern in Rahway when there was a verbal confrontation outside of the bar. This verbal dispute ended with Johnston attacking the victim with a knife, causing two lacerations to the victim’s throat and one to his wrist. Witnesses, physical evidence and video surveillance in the area presented over the course of the trial were able to definitively pinpoint Johnston as the attacker, Caparruva said
Sentencing has been scheduled for Friday, September 30, 2022 before Judge Kirsch, at which time Johnston can face a sentence of up to ten years in State Prison with an 85% period of mandatory parole ineligibility pursuant to the State’s No Early Release Act (NERA).