A former Fort Bliss solider stood bruised and badly injured in court Thursday as he pleaded guilty to cutting the throat of another soldier during a 2017 drug robbery.
Zachary Johnston, who appeared in court in an orange jail jumpsuit and shackles around his ankles, pleaded guilty Thursday to a lesser count of murder as part of a plea agreement with state prosecutors.
He also appeared in court with two black eyes, bruises and cuts all over his face after he was involved in a jailhouse fight.
Johnston was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in connection with the brutal slaying of Tyler Kaden Croke, 23, on May 7, 2017, during a drug robbery at the Cantera Apartments in East El Paso. Croke, 23, was in the U.S. Army and served a tour of duty in Afghanistan.