North Texas

Former Marine Suspected in UNT Student Shooting Extradited, Arraigned

Authorities said a 20-year-old former U.S. Marine accused of shooting and killing a University of North Texas student in Denton was arraigned after being extradited from Arizona early Thursday morning.

Marine Cpl. Eric Jamal Johnson was arrested Jan. 5 in Yuma, Arizona, after authorities said he admitted to shooting college student Sara Mutschlechner, 20, while she was driving.

Johnson waived extradition and arrived at the Denton County Jail at 2:54 a.m. Thursday. Denton County Sheriff's deputies said he was "cooperative during his transport."

Authorities said Johnson was arraigned on a murder charge around 11 a.m. His bond was set at $1 million.

Witnesses told police Mutschlechner left a party with three passengers in a sedan Jan. 1 when a gray Honda SUV drove up next to them. Police said sexually offensive words were exchanged between people in the vehicles before someone in the SUV fired a gun at the sedan, striking Mutschlechner in the head.

The UNT film major and sorority sister died later that day at a nearby hospital and was laid to rest in her hometown near Austin.

While speaking with investigators, police said Johnson admitted his responsibility in the shooting and expressed his sympathy to Muschlechner’s family and sorority sisters.

Denton police said they are still investigating and questioning the other passengers in the car. 

The U.S. Marine Corps issued a statement after Johnson's arrest saying he had been "administratively separated from the Marine Corps under other than honorable conditions."

Denton Police Information Officer Shane Kizer said Johnson will now remain in the Denton County Jail until his trial, until a plea bargain is reached or until he posts the $1 million bond to await trial outside of jail.

Police did not yet know if Johnson had retained an attorney.

NBC 5's Brian Scott contributed to this report.

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