A convicted murderer in Benton Harbor has surprising allies in his quest for freedom: the victim’s family.
Michael Johnson was convicted of killing 16-year-old Sue Ellen Machemer at Lakeshore High School in 1980 as a 17-year-old. He was convicted to life with the possibiliy of parole, but he hasn’t had a parole hearing.
Berrien County Prosecutor Michael Sepic is appealing a ruling allowing Johnson to be resentenced, but Machemer’s family tells ABC 57 the time has come to let him go free.
“Sometimes I think we get so bogged down in the technicalities we forget what it’s all about,” said David Machemer.
“It’s been 38 years and now when we think of Sue Ellen, it’s more with the good things,” said Ellen Machemer. “We happen to believe she’s in heaven and we’ll see her again and that helps a great deal… we just think it’s time.”
The Machemers have also grown close with Michael Johnson’s family over the years.