BELLEVILLE, Ill. — A one-time suspect in the stabbing deaths of three people at a southern Illinois beauty salon more than a decade ago has been charged with murder in the case in an indictment unsealed Monday.
Samuel L. Johnson, 50, of St. Louis was charged with first-degree murder Friday, according to the indictment, The Belleville News Democrat reported (http://bit.ly/2cRG9TP ). Johnson is accused in the March 2, 2005, killings of 79-year-old Doris Fischer, her sister 82-year-old Dorothy Bone and their hairdresser, 62-year-old Michael Cooney at Cooney’s home salon in Belleville. The women were getting their hair done at the time of the stabbings. Cooney’s next customer found the victims and called police.
The Belleville Police Department reinitiated an investigation into the killings in 2014. St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly said his office presented the grand jury with new evidence collected during that investigation.
Johnson was arrested six days after the killings but was only charged with an attempted burglary of Cooney’s home in December 2003, the News Democrat reported. Prosecutors said there wasn’t enough evidence to charge Johnson with murder.
Johnson is serving a seven-year term in the Missouri Department of Corrections for gun, drug, stolen property and other charges. He is eligible for release Oct. 30, when he can be extradited to Illinois. His bail on the Illinois murder charges is $3 million.
Another suspect, Darrell Lane, was charged with murder for the killings in 2006. Prosecutors linked Lane to a bloody fingerprint found in a vehicle taken from Cooney. Jurors, however, acquitted Lane in 2010.
Johnson did not have an attorney listed in court records who could comment for him.
Information from: Belleville News-Democrat, http://www.bnd.com