Amazon banner

Mystery in Mississippi

Huffington Post

Investigators in Horn Lake, Mississippi are working to unravel the mysterious death of 37 year old Jessica Renee Johnson.  Johnson was discovered by a mail carrier on June 2, 2017 beneath a 38 inch mailbox with shoelaces tied around her neck.  Authorities initially called this a suicide, however Jessica's mother, Linda Appleton Johnson strongly disagrees that her daughter would kill herself.  The official coroner's report will not be available for 4-6 months.

The mailbox shown above is the location where Ms. Johnson's body was discovered.   How is it possible for a person to hang themselves from a 38 inch tall mailbox?  I suppose it's possible, but is it likely?  This is one of the many questions that will need to be answered during this investigation.  Johnson's mother says she last saw Jessica on May 31 when she left to spend a few days with her off again, on again boyfriend.  The pair spoke by FaceTime on June 1 when Jessica indicated she would be coming home and she never made it home.  Her body was discovered on June 2 by the mail carrier in front of a house Jessica and her boyfriend were visiting.  What is the connection here?

It seems like law enforcement has a lot of questions to answer before they can say this was a suicide.  The initial cause of death was "ligature strangulation" and some people close to the case believe the whole death scene was staged and Johnson was killed elsewhere before being placed at the mailbox. It has also been noted that injuries to Johnson's body were observed while she was being prepared for the funeral - injuries that did not appear to be self inflicted.  There were marks on her arms and what appeared to be a footprint indented into her arm.  It also looked like she had been injected with something.  All of these things seem to appear to point to homicide and not suicide. 

Johnson's mother believes her daughters past struggles with drug addiction have caused authorities to write this off as a suicide.  Linda Johnson continues to press law enforcement to look into her daughters death.  She has contacted the family of another Horn Lake woman who died under similar circumstances and was said to be friends with Jessica's boyfriend.  That sounds like too big of a coincidence to ignore.

Jessica Renee Johnson was mother to an 8 year old daughter and 19 year old son.  This family deserves answers, and I certainly hope they don't have to wait the 4-6 months for the official coroner's report to move forward in this investigation.  If this death is listed as a suicide, law enforcement will not have the ability to investigate anything further.  It would seem that common sense tells you this woman did not hang herself from that mailbox!  I think we will be hearing more about this story in the months to come

Cold Justice Returns July 22, 2017 on Oxygen


Great news for fans of the true crime series "Cold Justice".  I was very happy to see that Cold Justice will return for a forth season, with a few notable changes.  TNT dropped the show, however Oxygen wisely snatched it up to bolster it's new "Crime Time" format. I am a big fan of this show, so I was saddened that Yolanda McClary will not be returning this season - she is said to be "exploring other projects". I thought McClary and former prosecutor Kelly Siegler had great working chemistry so I will miss watching them dissect these cold cases together.  The show has netted some impressive real world results. In just 3 seasons, their work has resulted in 16 convictions and 30 arrests.  Not bad considering some of the cases they tackled were 20-25 years old, making locating and re interviewing (aging or now deceased) witnesses difficult.

Sure this is a television show with lights and cameras and production crews following the team around - and television is all about ratings.  However, "Cold Justice" seems to be about more than ratings.  It's about getting justice for the friends and families of murder victims who have never received their day in court for their loved one.  You can tell that former Harris County prosecutor Kelly Siegler cares deeply about what she does.  Like her or not, she gets results.  As a tough Texas prosecutor she didn't lose murder trials.  She found a new calling with "Cold Justice".

There are a variety of programs that touch on cold or unsolved murder cases, but in my opinion this is the crème of the crop.  Look for the premiere later this month on Oxygen.  The 2017 cast consists of:

Kelly Siegler - Siegler worked as a prosecutor for Harris County for 21 years before retiring from the DA's office in 2008.  She is well known in the law and order state of Texas as being tough and a formidable opponent in the courtroom.  Siegler tried and won convictions on more than 65 murder cases during her tenure at the DA's office.  She is a sought after speaker known throughout the country and is a passionate advocate for victims rights.

Johnny Bonds - former homicide from Texas, began in law enforcement in 1967 and has been with the "Cold Justice" team from the inception of the show. Bonds is an old school fan favorite and just has that Texas lawman style that makes him fun to watch.  Bonds has more than 41 years of law enforcement experience and met Siegler after accepting a position as an investigator with the Harris County District Attorney's office.

Steve Spingole - has been assisting the team the past few seasons and was involved in the case of infamous serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.  A retired Lieutenant Detective with the Milwaukee PD, Spingole is also the author of several books including "The Best of the Spingole Files, Vol 1", "Predators of the Parkway", and "A Former Homicide Detective Explores the Colonial Parkway Murders.

Aaron Sams - new to the "Cold Justice" team, Sams is not new to law enforcement. He served as a homicide detective with the West Palm Beach Police Department for 18 years and worked over 250 violent crimes and homicides. He received many awards and accolades during his career including the 2012 ASIS Criminal Investigation Team of the Year award.

Tonya Rider - also new to the "Cold Justice" team, but this is no rookie investigator.  Rider has 26 years experience with the Toledo Police Department in the Crimes Against Persons/Homicide Department.  She received a Meritorious Service Medal for her work on a high profile cold case involving the murder of a Catholic Nun by Father Gerald Robinson who was arrested in 2006.  Rider is now retired from the police force and is a full time instructor at the Bowling Green State University Forensic Investigation Program.  Another great addition to the team.

Look for the shows premiere on July 22 on it's new home with Oxygen (Good move Oxygen!).  Can't wait to discuss the new cases and results.  Have a great weekend.

Dorice "Dee Dee" Moore Proclaims Her Innocence From Prison

Dee Dee Moore has been in a Florida prison for several years now following her conviction for the murder of lottery winner Abraham Shakespeare.  If you have seen the various police interviews of Dee Dee shown on Dateline and many other programs, you know she has told many stories about Abraham's disappearance which ultimately turned into his death investigation after his body was discovered buried in a deep hole covered by concrete - on property owned by Moore.  In 2016, Moore met with reporter Michelle Meredith from WESH and continued to proclaim her innocence.  She now says Abraham offered her $300,000 to bury his remaining lottery money in her yard. Hmm....does the dirt pay more interest than the banks?  She has NO idea how the body ended up buried under concrete on her property. Tha fact that no cash was ever recovered from the concrete tomb didn't seem to phase Moore.

Moore befriended Shakespeare approximately a year after he won the Florida lottery under the guise that she wanted to write a book based on his rags to riches story. Moore had a staffing agency for nurses and probably seemed like a safe person for Abraham to talk to. At this point in his life, he reportedly was tired of being approached by strangers and friends alike for money, which he was known to be generous for. Shakespeare was living a simple life at the time of his lottery windfall and likely didn't have the right people looking out for his best interest to safeguard his money.  He went from essentially living hand to mouth to buying a mansion in Florida, as well as a few cars and a Rolex watch purchased second hand. 

At some point Moore gained his trust enough to let her handle many of his financial affairs and this would ultimately lead to his untimely demise. Abraham Shakespeare simply vanished.  It was common knowledge that his reading and writing skills were at a low level, yet Moore produced letters supposedly written to his mother that she had delivered by a close family friend Greg.  Moore paid him to call Shakespeares mother pretending to be him, as if she wouldn't recognize her own son's voice?  Law enforcement keyed in on Moore after her outlandish and changing stories about Abraham being away on purpose and after finding that she had purchased Shakespeare's home and was living there. They were never able to establish that she actually paid him for the home.

Moore suddenly was flush with cash, buying her boyfriend a $80000 Corvette as well as high end vehicles for herself which she would then sell for the cash. An elaborate sting by law enforcement was put into action and they caught Moore on tape trying to find someone she could pay to take the rap for killing Abraham. She met with an undercover officer who she believed was already going away to prison for a long time who would say he killed the lottery winner for a payment of $50000 from Moore. She took the bait and he convinced her to give up where the body was in order to make it believable to the cops. The plan was to move the body and the murder weapon buried with him.

Sadly, the police found Shakespeare's body right where Moore said it would be. She was caught red handed and arrested. Even with a mountain of evidence pointing squarely at her, the denials persisted.  I didn't see this trial and wasn't familiar with Dee Dee Moore, so I decided to write to her in prison to ask her how someone like her with a business, ended up in prison and how she was adjusting to her new reality. She began writing me back, and I was taken back initially at how articulate and upbeat she seemed. Naturally she tells me she did not commit this crime. She says prison is awful and the conditions are deplorable, but she is making the best of it. She has sent me inspirational articles and cards. After some time she began suggesting that I could help her get the word out of her innocence by getting a TV or film crew come and interview her in prison. She claims she has documents and evidence the jury wasn't allowed to see or consider that points to another killer.

Moore also told me that she was a law abiding citizen who had never been in trouble with the law. I began researching her history and found that wasn't exactly true. I never believed there was exculpatory evidence held back at trial, however if there was it may be compelling. I sense that Dee Dee has a not so we'll hidden agenda writing to me. She points out that a book on her side of the story could be worth a lot of money, comparing herself to Amanda Knox and her book.  I'm writing this post using a tablet which doesn't have the ability to scan documents, but I will share some of her correspondence when I am able to do so.

I have been interested in how ordinary people find themselves serving long sentences after being convicted of violent crimes. I have come to see Moore may not be an ordinary person in that sense. She can be charming and manipulative. She wanted that money and in Abraham Shakespeare, she found the perfect mark. He was a simple man and sadly the lottery windfall ruined and cost him his life.  I will post more details when my laptop is up and running again. Until then, have a great weekend! 

My Apologies for Yesterday's Offensive Photo

I wanted to apologize for the photo posted with yesterday's story about a large mural that appeared suddenly on Christmas Eve in NYC.  I...

Most popular posts