FRNKAFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- Devastated is one way to describe the way many Kentucky lawmakers felt a day after Rep. Dan Johnson took his own life following allegations that he molested a 17-year-old girl in 2012.
Despite his controversial background, Johnson seemed to fit in as a lawmaker at the Capitol. A day after his death, all was quiet at the state house.
The House chamber where Johnson served for a year was empty. His colleagues expressed shock that Johnson would take his own life.
Rep. Wesley Morgan of Richmond was one of Johnson's friends at the Capitol. He said he spoke with Johnson just hours before he died and said he sounded fine.
"I was devastated, absolutely devastated," Morgan said.
Morgan said he certainly had no clue as to what Johnson was about to do. Several other lawmakers took to social media to express their shock.
Gov. Matt Bevin tweeted a statement Wednesday night, saying his "heart breaks for (Johnson's) family."
Saddened to hear of tonight’s death of KY Representative Dan Johnson...My heart breaks for his family tonight...These are heavy days in Frankfort and in America...May God indeed shed His grace on us all...We sure need it...— Governor Matt Bevin (@GovMattBevin) December 14, 2017
On Thursday morning, Bevin took to Twitter again to call out people making negative comments about Johnson on social media since his death:
Would ask sincerely that all the nasty, vulgar comments & other despicable responses to the news of KY Representative Dan Johnson’s death, be kept in the minds and hearts of those who have them...Don’t share..Please have respect for his family and friends at this time...Thank you— Governor Matt Bevin (@GovMattBevin) December 14, 2017
Jeff Hoover, the former Kentucky Speaker of the House who resigned after sexual assault allegations, also tweeted a statement Wednesday night:
I am very sad over the passing of Rep. Dan Johnson. Over the past few weeks in some of the darkest days of my life, he reached out to me, encouraged me, and prayed for me. Prayers for his wife, children, grandchildren and all affected by this sad event.— Jeff Hoover (@KYHoover) December 14, 2017
In America, those accused of wrongdoing are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Persons posting accusations on social media as truth, and those who are self righteous and indignant over mere accusations must do better. Personal attacks don’t have to be part of politics.— Jeff Hoover (@KYHoover) December 14, 2017
Now, a special election must be held to fill Johnson’s seat, and his wife, Rebecca, said she plans to run.
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