Wednesday, November 28, 2012
RIALTO: Man convicted in bus driver killing.. Press Enterprise Nov. 28, 2012
A jury that convicted a Rialto man of murdering a 2010 Fontana bus driver in 2010 will next have to decide whether he is insane.
Robert Darrell Johnson, 36, was found guilty of murder Tuesday, Nov. 27, for stabbing an Omnitrans driver on board a bus near a busy Rialto intersection in May 2010. The stabbing caused the bus to crash into a tree.
The jury also found a special allegation true that he used a knife.
Lawrence Kester, 47, was the father of eight and driving his normal route on Base Line from San Bernardino to Fontana when Johnson attacked him on the bus, which was carrying four other passengers. Authorities said the attack was without warning or provocation. No other passengers were injured.
Police said Johnson ran through a bank, where he dropped a knife, and into a supermarket, where he was arrested.
Johnson pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the murder charge. A jury is set to return Wednesday to begin hearing evidence in the sanity phase of the trial.
Leading up to the trial, a judge had initially ruled Johnson incompetent to stand trial, based on two doctor's reports on his mental fitness. Johnson was ordered placed in a psychiatric facility and to undergo medication.
He was reevaluated in May, where doctors reported he was stabilized on medication and the judge found him fit to stand trial, according to court records. He had no prior criminal record in Riverside or San Bernardino counties.
Johnson could face up to a life sentence for the murder charge