Man who killed brother in Spanaway sentenced to 20 years

A man who shot and killed his own brother in Pierce County back in 2019 has been sentenced to over two decades in prison for the crime. 

According to the Tacoma News Tribune, 54-year-old Bruce Johnson shot his brother, Thomas Johnson, over what he conceived as a conspiracy by his brother and city of SeaTac officials to kill his mother and steal their land to make a Link Light Rail station

On March 26, 2019, Thomas was found covered in blood and shot multiple times near a construction site at 1823 Military Rd S in Spanaway, across from the Holiday Park FamCamp, according to court documents.

He was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Shortly after, Bruce turned himself in to military police at Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM), which is just a few miles away. 

Court documents say a revolver and several scattered bullets were found inside his white work truck, which witnesses say they saw at the crime scene.

As a deputy was taking the Bruce, he said "why do you need to identify me if I told you I did it?" according to court documents. 

When Bruce was placed in the patrol car, without prompting, said, "[Thomas] is responsible for murdering my mother and trying to murder me… it’s definitely self-defense, though," court documents said. 

The Tacoma News Tribune said that Bruce killed his brother because he believed Thomas, SeaTac law enforcement and elected officials, and employees at Sound Transit were plotting to kill him, his mother and other SeaTac residents to make room for a Light Rail station. 

Relatives of Thomas said their mother died in a car crash earlier that year.  

After undergoing multiple assessments of his mental competency to stand trial, Bruce pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

On Jan. 27, he was sentenced to just over 21 years in prison. 

Once he is released, he must pay restitution, have follow-up mental health treatment, and stay away from his brother's wife and family.