LONDON — US Attorney General William Barr has directed prosecutors to seek the death penalty against a Woodbine man who is currently facing charges for the murder of his girlfriend and her child.
Daniel Nantz, 30, was named on a seven-count indictment in July for murder by a federal grand jury for fatally shooting Geri D. Johnson on March 16, 2019.
The indictment also charges Nantz with kidnapping, possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense, two counts of conspiracy to distribute 500 or more grams of a substance containing methamphetamine, possession of a firearm in the furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and possession of a firearm knowing that he had previously been convicted in a court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.
The indictment states that the firearm was a black Taurus .38 caliber Model 85 revolver.
Johnson, who was seven months pregnant at the time, sustained two gun shot wounds, once in her back near her right shoulder and once in the neck. Johnson was driven to Baptist Health Corbin by Nantz where doctors attempted to revive her.
Johnson’s daughter, Amelia Johnson, was able to be delivered and was transferred to the University of Kentucky Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for treatment. The baby was listed in critical condition for several days before passing away.
According to testimony from Todd E. Tremaine, a special agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Johnson had named Nantz in a drug trafficking scheme that the agency had been investigating at time.
The aforementioned indictment states that Nantz “willfully, deliberately, maliciously, and with premeditation and malice forethought,” killed Johnson with the intent of keeping her from telling officials about his drug operation.
Nantz was one of 19 individuals named in an indictment in March 2019 by a federal grand jury on drug trafficking and firearm offenses.
The indictments came as a result of a nine-month investigation by the ATF into methamphetamine and firearms trafficking.
According to the indictments, the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in and around Laurel, Knox, and Whitley Counties. The indictments further allege that defendants trafficked firearms, used firearms during their drug trafficking transactions, and illegally possessed firearms.
Nantz has pleaded not guilty to the charge, claiming that Johnson shot herself.
Since the reinstatement of capital punishment in the United States in 1988, no one has been sentenced to death by a federal court in Kentucky. However, the state has executed three inmates since then, with the last being Marco Allen Chapman on November 21, 2008.