Colbert County murder evidence headed to private forensics lab

COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – It’s been almost one month since WHNT News 19 first told you about the Colbert County Sheriff’s Office in a dispute with state forensics. To help solve an open murder investigation, the sheriff was wanting to send evidence to a private lab for testing and a state official said “no”.

John Edward Johnson

“It’s real frustrating to know the state could do something and they won’t,” stated Sue Johnson, the wife of the victim John Edward Johnson.

Her husband John was murdered last December in their Colbert County home.  After multiple DNA tests by state forensics, she and investigators were losing hope of finding out who did it.

“She needs closure, and I can’t provide that and it’s on my shoulders to do that,” Sheriff Frank Williamson explained.

After their tests came back inconclusive, a lab manager with the Alabama Department of Forensics refused to sign off on letting a private lab test the evidence. Not taking no for an answer, Sheriff Williamson and prosecutors went straight to the top office in forensic sciences, and got the okay.

Sheriff Frank Williamson

“They wrote us a letter of approval and we’ve got that signed and we’ve got that to the lab,” Williamson said.

Investigators say the Florida lab will be able to hopefully split the DNA, showing John Johnson’s and whoever committed the murder.

“We spend a lot of time out there, but you’ve still got somebody walking the streets and the community is scared of them; and rightfully so,” said Williamson.

According to investigators, the evidence will be hand delivered to the Florida forensics lab next week.

A reward is being offered by the Shoals Area Crimes Stoppers for information which leads to an arrest in the murder of John Edward Johnson. You can contact the tip line at (256)386-8685.