With the loot split evenly four ways, the quickly hatched plot to rob Pamela Anderson of her bingo winnings would have made each conspirator nearly $1,500 richer. Instead, the 2003 attempted robbery and shooting nearly killed the Hobe Sound woman and landed all four Palm Beach County residents involved in jail for at least the next decade.
A Martin Circuit judge sentenced Calvin Morgan to 40 years in prison and Tiffany Washington to 10 years Friday for their role in the attempted killing. Brenton Johnson, the triggerman, was sentenced to life in prison in late October. His sister, Natia Johnson, 25, was sentenced in December to 20 years in prison.
"Everything about this case is tragic," Martin Circuit Judge Larry Schack said during the sentencing hearing. "Everyone's life in this case has been ruined."
Anderson, a mother of nine, lost her spleen, a kidney and parts of her intestines after Brenton Johnson shot her in an attempt to make her get out of her car. The bullet that ripped through Anderson's abdomen also caused her to lose hearing in one ear and froze one side of her face.
Both Morgan, 20, and Washington, 24, apologized to Anderson and asked Schack for leniency in sentencing. Morgan swayed from side to side and shook his head after Schack sentenced him. He had asked for 10 years of probation.
"He gave me 40 years," he said under his breath, shaking his head as he walked away from a podium. Morgan's family members who attended the hearing declined to comment on his sentence.
Washington, who received the lightest sentence of the four, cooperated with prosecutors from the onset of the investigation. Had any of the other cases gone to trial, she would have testified that Morgan and Brenton Johnson were the enforcers of Natia Johnson's plan to take Anderson's winnings.
The story Washington gave police that day in August 2003 was one of a robbery plan that quickly spiraled out of control. Natia Johnson had picked her up earlier that day, she said. They drove around for a while, smoked marijuana, and then went to a West Palm Beach bingo hall, according to court records. Washington told prosecutors that she stayed outside while Natia Johnson went in. She said Natia Johnson called her awhile later with a quick demand.
"Go pick up my brother. Someone just won five thousand dollars," Washington said her friend told her. After Washington picked up Brenton Johnson and Morgan, they returned to the bingo hall where Natia Johnson joined them.
Anderson, who had actually won closer to $6,000, walked out of the hall with a friend, Catherine Plossl.
The foursome had planned to rob Anderson outside the bingo hall. "But she got in her car too fast," Washington said. So the four followed Anderson and Plossl as they drove to Anderson's home in Hobe Sound. Natia Johnson was driving, according to Washington.
Washington said Morgan and Brenton Johnson got out of their car when Anderson arrived at home. They demanded Anderson get out of her car. She refused. Washington said Brenton Johnson responded by shooting her. Anderson managed to drive away, but she drove off the road and nearly died before she was taken to the hospital.
Anderson attended Friday's sentencing but did not respond to the apologies from Morgan and Washington. In the past, she has rebuked the four for letting their greed steal two years from her life with her children.
Washington's family and friends had asked Schack to give her six years in prison instead of the 10 she received, saying that she had a good heart and came from a good family. "She just got caught up in the wrong crowd," Dorothy Washington said of her niece. "She's a good person, though. She'll survive this."