ATM killer pleads guilty; victim's daughter speaks out

ATM killer pleads guilty; victim's daughter speaks out

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The victim's daughter, Morgan Burgin (right), was given the chance to address the court, saying after losing her mother she became her brother's guardian. The victim's daughter, Morgan Burgin (right), was given the chance to address the court, saying after losing her mother she became her brother's guardian.
"I want to say sorry. I'm really sorry. I'm sorry," said Brandon Johnson said, addressing Burgin. "I want to say sorry. I'm really sorry. I'm sorry," said Brandon Johnson said, addressing Burgin.
"She was a great mom and I thank the judge for saying what she did about me being raised right," said Burgin. "She was a great mom and I thank the judge for saying what she did about me being raised right," said Burgin.

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The man who gunned down a former Anderson County corrections officer in 2010 pleaded guilty to murder Wednesday.

On Dec. 22, 2010, Davida Nicholson, 46, of Clinton was shot and killed outside a North Knoxville credit union.

Police say Nicholson was withdrawing money from the ATM when 20-year-old Brandon James Johnson approached and tried to rob her. Johnson shot her when she tried to drive away and continued shooting at others in the parking lot.

Johnson faced nine charges including first-degree murder and pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of second-degree murder.

In the plea deal, Johnson will get 45 years behind bars with 100 percent of the sentence to be served because he's a violent offender.

In the courtroom both the victim's family and the defendant's family were in tears. Both families said the day brought some sense of peace.

When Johnson walked into the courtroom, his mother, Freta, and the victim's daughter, Morgan Burgin, were emotional.

"When Johnson walked in, all the strength that I've had it just depleted, because I just started crying. I don't know if it was fear or if it was anger or if it was a combination," said Burgin.

When Johnson killed Davida Nicholson, her two children were left behind - her 23-year-old severely autistic son Richard Vowell, known as Bubba, and her 27-year old-daughter, Morgan.

"My mother was a very special person. She lived for my brother. Anyone that ever knew her could tell you Bubba was her life," said Nicholson.

Burgin was given the chance to address the court, saying after losing her mother she became her brother's guardian.

"He will stroke my hair because I look so much like her. He will whisper 'Momma.' None of us will ever be the same," said Burgin.

When Burgin finished addressing the judge she walked over to Johnson's mother, who was also in tears, and hugged her.

"I'm not the only victim here. My family's not the only victim here. He did this, but he did it to his family as well. He had a little girl. It's not that little girl's fault. It's not his mother's fault," said Burgin.

Brandon Johnson was also given a chance to speak. He turned to face Burgin.

"I want to say sorry. I'm really sorry. I'm sorry," said Johnson.

The judge told Burgin her mother raised her well.

"She was a great mom and I thank the judge for saying what she did about me being raised right," said Burgin.

Burgin says she asked the DA to accept the defense's deal so her family could have some closure and try to move on.

Johnson's older brother said it did bring the family some sense of peace just hearing from the victim's daughter.

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