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Knoxville man, 25, gets 70 years for role in South Knoxville double-killing

Two Michigan men were shot and killed in the parking lot of the Montgomery Village housing complex in 2017.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A man who aided in the murders of two Michigan men in a violent June 2017 drug deal is heading for a Tennessee prison.

Knox County Criminal Court Judge Steve Sword sentenced Kristopher Johnson, 25, on Friday to a 70-year term.

Johnson gave Rico Cook, then 15, a pistol to use ahead of a planned drug deal involving two men who traveled to the Montgomery Village housing development. Cook told Johnson and co-defendant Deon Nolbert, then 17, he planned to rob Sergio Rivera, 18, and Jaleon Morris, 18, of their marijuana, prosecutors said.

Rico “Little Rico” Cook

When Rivera and Morris arrived, Cook got in their vehicle and shot them to death, according to authorities. A third person in the car was shot but survived.

According to the Knox County District Attorney General's Office, Cook took the marijuana and gun back to Johnson. Johnson hid them in an apartment before being detained by the Knoxville Police Department, according to the DA's Office.

A jury convicted Johnson this summer of facilitation of felony murder, aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary among other counts.

Credit: TDOC
Deon Nolbert, now serving prison time for his role in a double killing in South Knoxville.

Cook has been convicted of first-degree murder. He's serving a life sentence at the Northwest Correctional Complex.

Nolbert has been convicted of facilitation of first-degree murder and is serving 20 years at Bledsoe County Correctional Complex.

Cook and Nolbert were transferred from juvenile court to be prosecuted as adults.

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