NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A 35-year-old woman has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for running over her husband with a vehicle in Norfolk, leaving him in a coma with critical injuries that eventually led to his death 15 months later.
Bashirah Shamirah Tripp, a Portsmouth resident, appeared in Norfolk Circuit Court Friday for sentencing. She was given 18 years with an additional 12 years suspended conditional on good behavior and completion of five years’ probation.
Tripp went to the shopping center and was with her husband, James Irving Johnson Jr. after he got out of work for the day. Tripp picked him up from work and an argument began.
During the argument, Tripp threw some of Johnson’s belongings out of the car. She then drove off without Johnson in the vehicle.
However, Tripp returned a few minutes later as Johnson was on the phone. He stepped out from the sidewalk and into the road, not seeing Tripp. She then hit him with her car.
The impact of the crash threw him into the air and caused him to hit his head on the ground. His skull was broken and he sustained a severe brain injury that eventually led to his death.
Tripp hit two other vehicles after hitting Johnson. She got out of the car and yelled at the unconscious Johnson and beat him with the car’s bumper, which had broken off.
Police arrested Tripp, who told them she was going to leave Johnson at Janaf but then — in a rage — turned around and hit him with her car.
Johnson was in a coma and didn’t wake up for the last 15 months of his life. He underwent multiple surgeries and lived with a feeding tube until he died from his injuries in October 2021.
Tripp pleaded guilty to aggravated malicious wounding in September 2021, about a month before Johnson died.
“Bashirah Tripp killed James Johnson on August 6, 2020, even if it took him another 15 months to die,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Ramin Fatehi. “Mr. Johnson should be alive today, but because of Ms. Tripp’s cruel and unnecessary crime, he is gone. I hope that today’s sentence brings peace to Mr. Johnson’s loved ones. Whether the weapon is a gun, a knife, or a car, we will do all we can to hold accountable the people who kill our fellow citizens.”