Sheriff hopes DNA, guilty feelings solve family killings

Posted at 12:01 PM, Jan 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-10 13:01:00-05

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) — A sheriff in South Carolina hopes new technology can join with a guilty conscience to help his investigators solve the killing of a mother, father and son in their Spartanburg County home nearly 30 years ago.

Thomas Johnson, 81, his wife Mary, 77, and son David, 43, were all stabbed to death and had broken ribs when their bodies were found in their home in January 1993.

There was no sign the killer broke in, leading investigators to think the family knew whomever killed them, Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright called a news conference to announce a $10,000 reward in the case.

“I don’t understand sometimes when people do things the way they did to this family and nobody talks,” Wright said.

A new investigator on the case has some leads with DNA evidence, and Wright hopes someone who didn’t talk almost 30 years ago will come forward now, whether it’s because their knowledge about the killings eats at them or they aren’t sure if what they know is important,

“I want you to really dig down in your memory bank. If you saw something that you might not have felt was significant, tell us anyway,” the sheriff said.

Deputies will rent an electronic billboard touting the reward near the home where the family was killed.

Thomas and Mary Johnson had health problems and their son was mentally disabled. They were all found dead in a bed in their home, investigators said.