Last month, our RandBall blog included a post about the sad story of Matt Johnson, the former Wild player who has been estranged from his parents for more than a decade. It was based on a lengthy story from TSN, which is Canada's equivalent of ESPN.
On Thursday, TSN reported that Johnson was arrested in California and is currently in a Los Angeles jail. He is alleged to have caused about $1,900 worth of damage at a Denny's restaurant.
Santa Monica police lieutenant Saul Johnson told TSN: “He went in there, knocked over a Christmas tree, and broke one of the restaurant windows. Then he walked to a nearby Mobil gas station and allegedly stole a cup of coffee and cigarettes.”
Johnson was a second round draft choice who played the final seasons of his career with the Wild from 2000-2004. He scored 23 goals and amassed 1,523 penalty minutes in his pro career.
Reporter Rick Westhead wrote: "In a series of interviews with TSN, Johnson’s parents Lee and Brenda described their worry about their son. They both said they can’t discount the role of mental illness in troubles that extend back years and are also are concerned about the addictive painkillers Johnson was routinely prescribed during his time in the NHL."
He also reported that Johnson declined the offer of a public defender during a hearing this week and said he would prefer to remain in jail until his next court appearance, which is scheduled for January 18. Westhead also wrote that two of his siblings went to visit Johnson at the jail, but he refused to see them.
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