Man pleads guilty of killing Farragut couple who was swept into domestic dispute
Boyd and Doris Turnips
Ronnie Edward Johnson will spend the rest of his life in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and one count of first-degree attempted murder on Wednesday.
Johnson, 44, killed Boyd Michael Beets and Doris Campbell Beets, both 67, after an ongoing domestic dispute erupted in violence around 10:30 p.m. outside the victim's Live Oak Circle home in west Knox County. March 21, 2020.
The Beets' daughter Lisa Farhat cried as she told judge Steven Sword her world was "instantly turned upside down" when she received the news as she was driving home from holiday.
"I gave the phone to my husband because I was too scared to hear what the officer was trying to tell me," she said.
Ronnie Edward Johnson
Farhat described her parents as "amazing" and said her mother is her best friend. They spoke several times a day.
"Thank you, Mr. Johnson, for sparing us the misery of a lawsuit," Farhat said. "Ultimately I forgive you because holding on to hate and anger only destroys the soul."
Johnson told the family he hoped they could find closure, saying, "I'm beyond sorry for all the pain I've caused."
Johnson, from Alcoa, was having an argument with his fiancée as the two were driving through the Lovell Woods neighborhood as she fled her pickup truck. The woman ran to the Beet's house for help, as it was the nearest house with the porch lights on.
Johnson rammed the truck into the house to run over his fiancee. Then he got out of the vehicle and shot the beets.
Doris Beets was a retired teacher from Farragut Intermediate School. Boyd Beets was an engineer with ORNL's Electrical Systems Engineering and Integration Group. He was posthumously awarded a 45-year company service award by ORNL Director Thomas Zacharia.
Johnson pleaded for an agreement that he will serve two consecutive life sentences and 15 years concurrently. Sword stated that Johnson's sentence would be 99 years and six months, counting time served.
This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Man pleads guilty to killing Farragut couple who were swept up in domestic fight
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