Story of Michael Johnson Juvenile Offender 159608

Michael Johnson 159608

In 1980, Michael Johnson was sentenced to prison for taking the life of classmate, Sue Ellen Machemer. At the time, the two teenagers were juniors in high school in Stevensville, Michigan. The world was in front of them. This site provides facts about Michael Johnson, the story of Sue Ellen’s Bears and information on those that support Michael Johnson’s release, including Psychologists, Michigan Department of Corrections Employees and the Machemer family.

Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson

Sue Ellen Machemer

Sue Ellen Machemer


Two Families Coming Together to Support Michael Johnson

Sue Ellen’s Family joining Michael Johnson’s Family in Support of Release

From left: Sue Ellen’s parents Mel and Ellen Machemer with Michael Johnson and his mother Audrey Johnson.

Article from Berrien County District Court retrial hearing, 2009.

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Life Didn’t Always Mean Life in Michigan

The historical record makes it indisputably clear that a life sentence in Michigan did not always mean “no release.” On the contrary, a parolable lifer’s chances of being released from prison have dropped dramatically since many people currently incarcerated received their life sentences.

The decline began in the mid-1980s when rapid prison growth overwhelmed the “old” parole board and lifers were placed on the back burner. The current parole board has affirmatively decided not to release most of those lifers who, under Michigan’s Lifer Law, became eligible for parole after serving 10 years. It has adopted the view that “life means life.”   read full article