Mother pleads guilty to assault in alleged drowning attempt of four kids

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Nicole Johnson’s age.

The Southeast Washington woman who police say last year tried to kill her four children by driving them into the Anacostia River pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of assault with intent to kill.

Nicole Johnson, 33, entered the plea before Judge William M. Jackson. The plea agreement calls for a sentence of 36 months, should the judge approve the deal.

Prosecutors said Joyhnson piled her four children into her Chevrolet Suburban one July evening last year and drove to the Anacostia River.

Johnson, according to court documents, then parked at the water’s edge and told her children — ages 16, 14, 11 and 8 — that “no one wanted them” and “they should all drown together.” She ordered one of them to call her father to say goodbye.

But the 16-year-old jumped out and urged his siblings to do the same. Johnson hit the accelerator and tried to run over the children as they sought shelter behind trees. A witness alerted a nearby U.S. Park Police officer, and Johnson was arrested and admitted to St. Elizabeths, the District’s psychiatric hospital.

A hearing is scheduled for Sept. 11, when Johnson is scheduled to be sentenced should the judge accept her plea.

Keith Alexander covers crime, specifically D.C. Superior Court cases for The Washington Post. He has covered dozens of crime stories from Banita Jacks, the Washington woman charged with killing her four daughters, to the murder trial of intern Chandra Levy.
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