SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — Emond Johnson, the former gym owner, facing arson and murder charges has accepted a plea and sentenced to 30-years in prison.
Johnson’s plea draws to an end a odyssey through the judicial system since he set fire to the Spartan Box Gym, which ultimately destroyed the Ingram Square Shopping Center in May 2017.
Johnson confessed his actions were motivated by a need to get out from under his lease at the location.
The San Antonio Fire Department responded to the fire, which quickly grew and engulfed the business and rest of the shopping center.
The fire tragically claimed the life of firefighter Scott Deem and caused severe injuries to firefighter Brad Phipps and firefighter Robert Vasquez.
In admitting the plea to the top two charges, Johnson, 45, escapes a life sentence but gives up his ability to change his plea.