Homeless Mother Lives With Her 2 Boys In Storage Locker

Posted By Urban News Hour | May 18, 2013

New Jersey – After encountering a snag yesterday with the criminal justice system, the effort to free Sheena Johnson from jail should succeed tomorrow morning, the two men heading up the initiative said tonight.

The 27-year-old is being held on child endangerment charges for housing her two boys inside a Ewing storage locker. Johnson remained in the Mercer County Correction Center last night, but a place to stay and clothing awaited her on the outside, courtesy of Greater Trenton Behavioral Health, said Dan Toto, a youth baseball coach working with Trenton restaurant owner Olugbala Sababu.

The final difficulty in freeing her was not raising bail for the child endangerment charge, but finding the additional $1,500 cash-only bail set after Johnson allegedly slashed her ex-fiancee’s tires in Trenton April 18. Her arrest on criminal mischief charges led police to the storage locker where the boys, ages 5 and 10, were inside.

“It just doesn’t make any sense,” Toto said last night. “There is no plausible or legal explanation,” for the woman’s incarceration. Johnson has said she housed her children in a storage locker because she had nowhere else to go for shelter, and that she slashed her ex-fiancee’s tires out of frustration that he wouldn’t help.

Toto, Capital City Bail Bonds of Trenton, Rapid Bail Bonds of Perth Amboy and other donors had raised the $5,000 minimum payment on Johnson’s $50,000 child endangerment bail needed to free her and posted it yesterday.

“That was the biggest hurdle,” Toto said.

But Toto found out while at the workhouse yesterday afternoon that Johnson could not be released before the additional, mischief-charge bail was paid. Digging further into their pockets, Toto and Sababu said they put together the final $1,500 and raced to the correction center in Hopewell Township around 9 p.m. tonight.

The center was in the middle of a count of its inmates, so Johnson could not immediately be released.

But the money is ready, and the men were confident yesterday Johnson was spending her last night in jail and would leave around 9 a.m. Saturday.

Johnson had received a full psychological evaluation from the behavioral health group, and the social worker who had three interviews with Johnson ruled her fit to live in the group’s independent housing, Sababu said.

Sababu’s Trenton restaurant, the Big Easy, has been flooded with calls to help Johnson since Sababu made the place available for those who wanted to reach out.

A fundraiser to put together a trust fund for Johnson and her children will take place Tuesday from 5 p.m. until closing time at the restaurant at 120 S. Warren St.

“We need them to continue,” Sababu said of community members, “because they already pivoted in that direction. We’re humbly grateful, and let it continue.”

Checks and money orders can be made out to “Trust Fund of Sheena Johnson.” Cash donations will not be accepted.



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