For the past several months, family, friends and fans wondered what had happened to former NHL enforcer Matt Johnson, who was homeless and missing after a short stint in the League.
We now know a little more about Johnson, as he has been arrested in California and has been charged with felony vandalism following an alleged incident on New Year’s Eve, according to TSN.
Johnson was arrested at 6:48 a.m. PT on Dec. 31 by Santa Monica Police Department officers and has been in a Los Angeles jail since then, Santa Monica Police Lieutenant Saul Rodriguez told TSN in an interview.
He said Johnson was arrested after allegedly causing $1,900 worth of damage to a Denny’s restaurant early in the morning on Dec. 31.
“He went in there, knocked over a Christmas tree, and broke one of the restaurant windows,” Lt. Rodriguez said TSN in an interview on Thursday. “Then he walked to a nearby Mobil gas station and allegedly stole a cup of coffee and cigarettes.”
TSN also revealed that Johnson pleaded no contest to the vandalism charge and declined to request to be released on bail, which is set at $20,000, Lt. Rodriguez said. Johnson also declined the offer of an experienced lawyer and said he preferred to remain in jail until his next court hearing date on Jan. 18.
A tough past...
Johnson's family recently recalled, in a fascinating documentary by Rick Westhead of TSN, that during the lockout year the former Minnesota Wild player was sleeping all day and acting weird all night in his family home. Tension became unbearable and Johnson left. He has been homeless ever since...
Johnson was selected in the second round of the 1994 NHL Draft by the Los Angeles Kings. He made his debut with the Kings in January 1995, but wouldn’t play another NHL game following the cancellation of the 2004-05 season. In total, he went on to play 473 games in the league with the Kings, Atlanta Thrashers and Minnesota Wild, for whom he was briefly a team captain.
Some close friends say Matt's story is a carbon copy of what happened to Derek Boogaard, who died in 2011 of a drug overdose. Johnson has been in rehab at least four times and has survived multiple suicide attempts.