The preliminary hearing for triple-murder suspect Mauricio Eduardo Johnson has been postponed to give the District Attorney’s Office more time to discuss a defense offer for Johnson to admit to murder and weapons charges.


Outside the courtroom today, Deputy District Attorney Roger Rees said defense attorney Andrea Sullivan proposes that Johnson plead guilty to three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of personal use of a firearm and be sentenced to 150 years to life. However, he would be eligible for parole.

Johnson, 19, is currently charged with the special circumstance of killing multiple people, with a conviction meaning life in prison without possibility of parole.

About 20 people — family members and friends of the victims — were in Judge Christopher Wilson’s courtroom this morning. Rees told the judge he has met with all concerned people and has held a follow-up meeting with all but one person.

Rees had planned to ask today for a two-week continuance, but he requested 30 days because wildfires are making it difficult for some people to travel to Eureka.

Sullivan appeared today via Zoom, saying she didn’t object to the 30-delay as long as Johnson didn’t mind. Johnson was in the courtroom and agreed to the continuance.

Johnson is charged with the Feb. 10 murders of Margarett Lee Moon and her fiance Nikki Dion Metcalf, both 40, and Moon’s 16-old-daughter Shelly Moon. All were shot dead inside their home on Bear River Rancheria. According to one person who spoke with Johnson afterward, he shot Shelly Moon because “he didn’t want any witnesses.”

Johnson was arrested the following day as he drove through Utah. He spent three months there fighting transfer to California but was returned to Humboldt County in May after Gov. Gavin Newsome signed a warrant for his extradition.

If the prosecution doesn’t accept the defense offer, Johnson will have a preliminary hearing that is expected to take a full day. The next hearing in the case is set for Sept. 30.

Sullivan has been attempting from the start to have the special circumstance dismissed. When Johnson was jailed in Utah, Sullivan said he would agree to be extradited if that charge was dropped. So far it remains.