Suspect in deadly hammer attack appears in court on manslaughter - KPTV - FOX 12

Suspect in deadly hammer attack appears in court on manslaughter, assault charges

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Alphonzo Johnson in court Monday. (KPTV) Alphonzo Johnson in court Monday. (KPTV)

A Portland man is behind bars charged with manslaughter and assault after relatives said he killed a loved one with a hammer.           

Alphonzo Johnson, 42, made his first court appearance Monday. Police arrested Johnson on Sunday for an attack on Dec 28.

Portland police responded to Southeast 92nd and Clinton where 35-year-old John Lehman was stumbling around in the street. He passed out and paramedics rushed him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead from his injuries.

Over the phone, Lehman’s father told FOX 12 he had been beaten over the head with a hammer.

“When I found out when I got down there, it was more devastating than anything that’s ever happened to me in my life," Dan Lehman said. 

Dan Lehman said he’d been looking for his son for a year. John Lehman had some problems with drugs and was living on the streets, according to his father.

Dan Lehman said his son was trying to help a fellow homeless person who had their belongings stolen. But when he tried to get them back, Dan Lehman claims Johnson attacked his son.

“I believe that when John turned away from the gentleman, he got hit in the head,” his father said. “They used a hammer on him.”

Johnson’s relatives are stunned by his arrest. His cousin, Henry Jones, said he’s had some problems in the past, but he’s never known Johnson to be violent.

“No and that’s why I’ve been taken by surprise,” said Jones.” It’s shocking just hearing about the nature of what happened.”

John Lehman’s father said he’s not surprised to hear his son was sticking up for a friend.

“John was a pretty good guy. He liked to help people. He had a really good heart," his father said. 

Johnson’s next court appearance is schedule for Jan. 17. 

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