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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Suspect in Mo. murder-suicide was JoCo robber

In Lebanon, Mo., police believe that Todd Johnson, the manager of some area Sonic restaurants, killed his wife, Sheila, and their 10-year-old son, Blake, before killing himself last Friday. He was found dead in a quarry. This is the same Todd Johnson who went to prison for a string of Johnson County armed robberies back in 1985.

Johnson and his brother, Brent, were part of a group that robbed a grocery store, a savings and loan and a golf-course manager. There was also a run at an armored truck. During one attempt, a Wells Fargo guard was shot and injured. The robbery spree was shocking at the time because the suspects were young, came from good families and didn't really have a criminal history.

Kevin Wright at the Olathe News has a good overview of the case here. Kathee Baird has been following the case at her crime blog since it broke.

It's not entirely clear what led to last week's slayings. From Wright's article:

According to the Lebanon Daily Record, Johnson was the manager of four Sonic Restaurants in that region. An employee whom Johnson had told people he had fired, actually told sheriff’s investigators he was not fired and that Johnson asked him to help in a robbery and insurance scam.

Authorities theorize that Johnson brought the employee to his house to take jewelry, but in the midst of the plot, the motives apparently changed and the wife and son were killed. Now investigators wonder whether the insurance scam was even the reason Johnson brought the employee to the house.


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