Fallon murder suspect appears in court

A 49-year-old Fallon man accused of murdering his roommate tearfully told Churchill County Justice of the Peace Mike Richards during a status hearing Friday that he did not understand what was happening.

Friday's hearing originally was to schedule Michael Johnson's preliminary hearing on an open murder charge. Preliminary hearings usually occur within 15-days of arraignments, and Johnson was arraigned on Thursday.

Johnson is accused of stabbing 51-year-old Lisa Onyon once in the chest Monday night before calling for an ambulance.

When Churchill County deputies arrived, they discovered Onyon was dead.

Public Defender Paul Drakulich said he spoke with Johnson about the preliminary hearing, and added his client knows about the 15-day rule.

A distraught Johnson, however, said that was not the case.

"I don't understand," he said. "I'm confused. I do not know anything."

Drakulich said he thinks his client understands what is going on, but he is overwhelmed by the process.

When asked by Richards again if he knew he had the right to have a preliminary examination, Johnson told him he had no clue what a preliminary hearing is.

Drakulich, however, said he explained to his client what constitutes a preliminary hearing.

In court on Friday, he briefly explained to Johnson again the hearing would determine if there was enough evidence on the alleged murder for him to be bound over for trial.

"I know Paul knows what to do," Johnson said. "Paul knows what is right, and I trust him."

Richards scheduled a preliminary hearing for May 29 and a tentative preliminary hearing for June 13, which he said, will take all day.

Johnson remains in the Churchill County Jail on a $1 million bail.


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