September 29th, 2009, 06:57 PM
A man who walked into an Atlanta suburb's police department seeking a criminal background check for a job application wound up under arrest as a suspect in the slaying of a former University of Missouri student in 1976, authorities said Tuesday.
Johnny Wright, 65, went to the Lawrenceville Police Department last week for a background check he needed to apply for a job as a driver, police Capt. Greg Vaughn said.
"When they ran the check, they got a hit on him," Vaughn said. "He paid $15 to get arrested."
When Wright returned the next day for his paperwork, Lawrenceville police served a warrant issued in Missouri in 1985 charging Wright with Doisy's death. The 23-year-old woman was a poet and waitress at a popular Columbia diner before she disappeared in August 1976.
Authorities suspected that Wright had fled the country or even been killed amid West Coast gang warfare, said Dr. Robert Doisy, the victim's father.
"We've been under the impression that she had been dead for a long time," he said. "We're just totally stunned, in utter disbelief and shock."
Doisy was a weekend waitress at Ernie's Steak House when she disappeared on Aug. 5, 1976. Co-workers said that Wright _ an ex-convict from St. Louis who had been arrested a dozen times and spent time in prison for burglary _ badgered Doisy for a date but was rebuffed.
A resident of Doisy's apartment complex reported seeing her leave with Wright the day she went missing.
In 1985, Wright's former roommate told Columbia police he had seen Doisy's body in Wright's car.
"He must not know that murder warrants are never expunged, or he forgot," said Kathy Doisy, the victim's sister.
"In this day and age, we hear about cases being solved by technology, DNA and that sort of thing," said officer Jessie Haden, a Columbia police spokeswoman. "It's not often we hear about a (murder) case being solved by a suspect turning himself in."
Wright presented a Georgia identification card issued Sept. 17 with his background check application, Vaughn said. The ID contained his real name and birth date.http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/missouristatenews/story/8E460F12DBA74AA4862576400055EFB0?OpenDocument
Presumed dead, then 23-year-old Rebecca Doisy's body has never been found.
September 29th, 2009, 07:02 PM
Wow, that's amazing!
I'm glad his past caught up with him.
September 30th, 2009, 01:50 AM
The Doisy name is well-known in St. Louis medical circles. Rebecca Doisy's grandfather was Nobel prize-winning biochemist Dr. Edward A. Doisy Sr., who founded the department of biochemistry and molecular biology at St. Louis University in 1923. The university's biomedical research building is named after him.
Rebecca Doisy was the daughter of Dr. Robert A. and the late Harriett A. Doisy of Glendale. Rebecca's mother died in 1985.
Dr. Robert Doisy's brother, Dr. Philip Doisy, said Tuesday he was glad to hear of Wright's arrest.
Her sister recalled that Rebecca had an "eclectic group of friends," including an elderly blind man, a former convict, whom she read to regularly.
She was last seen alive on Aug. 5, 1976. That day, she was seen leaving her apartment with Wright. The two were seen in a bar together later that evening.
Wright had been asking Rebecca Doisy for dates, repeatedly calling her at work because she wouldn't give him her home number, Kathy Doisy said. Rebecca Doisy decided to have a drink with Wright and "politely get rid of him."
Wright had a lengthy arrest record for assaults and narcotics-related offenses. In 1972, he was convicted of burglary in Montgomery County and sentenced to four years.
After Doisy's disappearance, Wright failed to show up at his job with the Columbia Public Works Department and could not be found for several days. When he did surface, police said he failed a polygraph examination. But police said they lacked the evidence to charge Wright.
Then in 1985, an informer came forward with new information. The informer told police that he had seen Doisy's body, covered by a blanket, in the back seat of Wright's car on the night she disappeared. Egbert told the Post-Dispatch in 1986 that he believed Doisy had been strangled.
The Georgia identification card that Wright presented for his background check had been issued less than a week before his arrest. The identification listed a Lawrenceville address.
I doubt that Wright will confess and tell where Rebecca's body is, he's kept it a secret for 33 years and been in hiding. I'll pray he proves me wrong.....
September 30th, 2009, 08:45 PM
I have looked at all the Missing Persons websites for Rebecca Doisy, as far as I can tell she isn't listed anywhere. Strange. She's not even on the Missouri Missing website. How do they know she is not a Jane Doe body somewhere? I saw her photo, and I thought Wow, she looks like a Jane Doe sketch, that I have seen, so I go through my Jane pics and there she is, guess where she was found? Yep, Missouri, close to Wright City, now that kinda of freaked me a bit, plus the fact that Jane was found in 1985(the year Wrights warrant was issued) the only Jane in Missouri with 4 reconstructions (and there are only two Janes with sketches since 1976) So I am putting this side by side here first, then going to put a bug in Lehmens ear, surely they have already ruled her out, but ya never know.
I hope this is her and will aid the Justice handed to Wright.........
March 21st, 2010, 03:58 PM
Rebecca Doisy, murdered 1976, arrest made 2009
Rebecca Doisy, 23 - last seen in a bar with the suspect on August 5, 1976
Johnny Wright, 65 - interviewed at the time of the murder but was released; police issued a warrant for his arrest in 1985 when new information was developed; arrested September, 2009, when he attempted to get a criminal record check for employment from in Lawrenceville, GA
Columbia (Boone County), MOLawrenceville man pleads ‘not guilty' to 1976 murder
More for more than 33 years, the last man known to have seen a 23-year-old Missouri woman alive eluded police. But that changed in September, when 65-year-old Johnny Wright went to the Lawrenceville police station for a background check for a job. That check turned up an arrest warrant dating back to 1985 for the woman's murder, and Wright was extradited back to Missouri. On Monday, Wright told a judge he's the wrong guy.
Wright, most recently of Lawrenceville, entered his plea during a brief arraignment in a Boone County, Mo., courtroom. Wright was recently indicted for second-degree murder in the death of Rebecca Doisy and will return to court next month.
Wright was arrested by Lawrenceville police in September after he attempted to get a background check for a prospective employer. That background check turned up an arrest warrant dating back to 1985, Lawrenceville police said. Wright was arrested when he returned to the police station the following day.
It took nine years following Doisy's death in 1976 for police to have sufficient evidence to issue a warrant for Wright, though he was questioned after she disappeared. In 1985, Missouri police issued a warrant for Wright, but they couldn't find him. By the time he was found in Gwinnett County, many of Doisy's family members believed he was no longer alive.
"We are in stunned disbelief," Doisy's younger sister Kathleen Doisy told the AJC. "Where has he been for 33 years?" Wright had asked out Rebecca Doisy several times before she finally agreed to have a drink with him, Kathleen Doisy said. Rebecca Doisy was working as a waitress at Ernie's Restaurant during a break from college, and planned to become a teacher.
[B][I]New indictment in Doisy case moves Johnny Wright closer to trial
Columbia Daily Tribune - 03/07/10
Johnny Wright was indicted Friday by a Boone County grand jury on a charge of second-degree murder in the 1976 disappearance of Columbia art student and waitress Becky Doisy.
“The way the grand jury process goes, that doesn’t surprise me at all,” he said. “The defense presents no evidence, there’s no cross-examination or anything of that sort.” Attempts to reach Assistant Prosecutor Richard Hicks yesterday were unsuccessful.
Doisy was 23 in August 1976, when she was last reported seen alive in the company of Wright. A former roommate of Wright told police in 1985 that Wright had bragged about the murder of Doisy and also had shown him her body on the night of her disappearance. The victim’s body has not been found. Boone County authorities filed the second-degree murder charge against Wright in November 1985 but were unable to find him to make an arrest.
CPD continues investigation of Doisy murder
The Maneater - 12/11/09
The Columbia Police Department Major Crimes Unit is continuing to investigate the 1976 murder of a former MU student. Johnny Wright was arrested for the murder of Rebecca Doisy in September after Georgia police discovered a warrant while conducting a background check, a CPD news release stated.
Investigators have more than 20 leads on potential witnesses, which CPD Sgt. Roger Allen said is not unusual in a murder case.
Investigators are presented with some unique challenges when gathering evidence because the case is 33 years old. Tracking down witnesses can be difficult when so much time has elapsed since the crime, Allen said.
"That's our biggest problem that the body was never found," Allen said.
]]. Law enforcement obtained a warrant for Wright's arrest 11 years after Doisy's murder in 1985.
Ga. man accused in 1976 Mo. slaying free on bond
WMBF - 11/11/09
A 65-year-old Georgia man accused of killing a former University of Missouri student more than 30 years ago is free on bond pending trial. Members of Johnny Wright's family paid a cash bond of $10,000 to secure his release last week from the Boone County Jail.
The Columbia Daily Tribune reported Wednesday that Wright has been living under the assumed identity of "Errol Edwards" for at least 25 years while using a false Social Security number, driver license and voter registration.
Ga. man accused in 1976 Mo. slaying in court
KMOX - 11/06/09
A 65-year-old Georgia man accused of killing a former University of Missouri student more than 30 years ago is a devoted father who ''absolutely'' didn't commit the crime, his attorney said.
Johnny Wright appeared in court Friday for the first time since his arrest in late September after walking into the Lawrenceville police department in suburban Atlanta. Wright was seeking a criminal background check to apply for a job as a driver.
''He had nothing to do with Ms. Doisy's disappearance,'' said defense attorney Cleveland Tyson Jr. ''The only thing my client has been doing for the past 30 years is working and raising a family.''
Tyson said Wright has two adult children and is also a grandfather. Wright moved away from Columbia in the late 1970s and was not aware of the outstanding warrant, his lawyer said. Wright relocated ''because of the scrutiny'' of being a suspect, not to avoid arrest, according to Tyson.
Wright's case was delayed until Dec. 11 to allow prosecutors to continue collecting evidence and attempt to find possible witnesses. He remains at the Boone County Jail after Associate Circuit Judge Christine Carpenter denied Tyson's request to lower a $100,000 bond.
Wright's arrest stunned Doisy's family members, who said they were told by police a decade ago that he had possibly fled the country or died. The detective who worked the initial case and the prosecutor who issued the warrant are long retired.
Columbia Missourian - 11/06/09
For years, Johnny Wright didn't know there was a murder charge pending against him, Wright’s attorney said Friday.
“He can’t understand why he’s facing these charges,” St. Louis attorney Cleveland Tyson said. “He’s absolutely innocent.”
Wright was in Boone County court Friday for a preliminary hearing, but Boone County Assistant Prosecutor Stephanie Morrell's request for a continuance, to have the hearing later, was granted.
Tyson’s motion to lower Wright’s $100,000 bond was denied by Judge Christine Carpenter.
Wright had settled down to raise a family in Georgia and had children who are now adults, Tyson said. He said Wright spent most of the last two decades living in Georgia, working blue-collar jobs. Wright had moved out of Missouri to get away from the “intense scrutiny he was under” following the Doisy investigation, Tyson said.
Wright arraigned on murder charge
Columbia Tribune - 10/17/09
In his first public appearance since being extradited to Boone County on Wednesday, Johnny Wright was arraigned yesterday in Boone County Associate Circuit Court on a charge of second-degree murder. Shackled and wearing a black-and-white, striped inmate’s uniform, Wright appeared by video from the Boone County Jail at about 2 p.m. in front of Circuit Judge Christine Carpenter.
Carpenter set a preliminary hearing for 2:30 p.m. Nov. 6 and asked for a bond investigation into Wright’s current bond amount of $100,000. Wright, 65, of Lawrenceville, Ga., is accused of causing the 1976 death of Becky Doisy by choking her.
In yesterday’s hearing, before walking off-screen, Wright tried to ask the judge a question but was cut off. “It’s probably not a good idea for you to ask any questions,” Carpenter said. “You are represented by a lawyer, and anything you say can be used against you in court.” Wright’s attorney, Cleveland Allen Tyson Jr. of St. Louis, did not attend the hearing.
Ga. man extradited in Missouri case
A man accused of killing a former University of Missouri student 33 years ago has been returned to Missouri. Johnny Wright, 65, was transferred this week to the Boone County Jail from the Gwinnett County jail, where he's been since Sept. 23.
He was detained in suburban Atlanta after seeking a criminal background check for a job application. The check revealed a warrant in the Doisy case issued in 1985.
Suspect in 1976 killing will be extradited
A man accused of killing a former University of Missouri student 33 years ago is expected to be extradited from Georgia to Columbia in about a week.
The decision to proceed comes after Assistant Prosecutor Richard Hicks determined there was enough evidence for 65-year-old Johnny Wright to face a murder charge in the death of Rebecca Doisy.
Police find two Doisy murder case witnesses
Columbia police investigators found two key witnesses in a 33 year old murder case.
Detectives are gathering evidence against Johnny Wright, 65, who was arrested last week in Georgia for the 1976 murder of Columbia waitress Becky Doisy.
Kathy Doisy said it’s been an emotional rollercoaster ever since police told her that they might have found her sister’s killer. At first she was shocked. Now, she says she is in the crying phase as the reality of Johnny Wright’s arrest becomes more real. Doisy believes Wright buried her sister under some concrete.
“I have always believed that because he worked for the city, he knew where they were pouring concrete that day," Kathy Doisy said. "I think he put her down under where he knew the concrete would be poured pretty soon. My thoughts have always been that someday they are going to dig up that concrete or that building and we are going to find her remains.”
Kathy Doisy said the police would be very lucky to convict Johnny Wright, 33 years after her sister’s disappearance. Investigators never found a body or obtained DNA evidence.
Twenty-four-year-old murder case still under investigation
A renewed investigation is underway into the disappearance of Columbia resident Rebecca Doisy 33 years ago,
Detectives traveled to Lawrenceville, Ga., to interview Johnny Wright, 65, who resurfaced Sept. 23 after eluding investigators for 24 years. Wright was arrested after attempting to apply for a job in an Atlanta suburb that required a routine background check.
Although Wright's whereabouts have been uncovered, prosecutors will face similar challenges to the ones experienced decades ago. For one, there is still no physical evidence that Doisy is dead because her body has never been found.
Boone County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Richard Hicks said he has never prosecuted a murder case without the existence of a victim's body and said he knows few prosecutors in the state that have.
"If you don't have a body, then you don't have a certain cause of death," Hicks said.
Columbia police to meet Ga. murder suspect
Two Columbia police detectives are headed to Georgia to interview a murder suspect who was recently arrested on a 24-year-old warrant.
Police charged Wright with Doisy's murder in 1985 after Wright's former roommate said he saw the woman's body in Wright's car.
Arrest in Georgia ends mystery of Kirkwood woman's 1976 murder
Police in Columbia, Mo., say they never gave up on the 33-year-old murder case of Rebecca Doisy, a Kirkwood native who disappeared in Columbia in 1976.
Even so, officers were shocked this week when Johnny Wright, the suspect charged in the case 24 years ago, was apprehended in Georgia.
"There were absolutely no new leads, so this came as a surprise to us, a very welcome surprise," said Columbia Police Officer Jessie Haden.
"When they ran the check, they got a hit on him," Lawrenceville police Capt. Greg Vaughn told the Associated Press. "He paid $15 to get arrested."
Suspect held in ’76 murder
After 33 years, Georgia police have arrested the suspect in the disappearance and apparent homicide of a Columbia woman.
Authorities said Johnny Wright, 65, walked into the Lawrenceville, Ga., Police Department last Tuesday and asked an officer to run a criminal background check on him for a possible job as a driver. Wright filled out an application for the background check, using a Georgia ID with his real name and birth date.
When police ran the name through an FBI database, they discovered a 1985 warrant issued for the 1976 murder of 23-year-old Becky Doisy. The next day, when Wright returned for a copy of the record, police arrested him. He is being held at the Gwinnett County Jail. A Lawrenceville police captain said Wright has waived an extradition hearing.
Later, some evidence heightened suspicion of Wright. The evidence included a grubbing hoe and shovel reportedly taken the night of Aug. 5 from a shed owned by an acquaintance of Wright. In addition, an eyewitness spotted Wright and Doisy drinking at the Heidelberg on the afternoon of her disappearance.
Wright, a St. Louis native with 12 prior arrests for crimes such as rape, assault and drug possession, reportedly was “deceptive” on a polygraph test in Columbia after his arrest days after Doisy’s disappearance. He was, however, released by Columbia police after the questioning.
In 1985, a former roommate of Wright, Harry Moore, told Columbia police he had seen Doisy’s lifeless body in Wright’s blue Toyota at the about the time of her disappearance. He said Wright told him he “had offed” Doisy, and his statements with other evidence led prosecutors to file a second-degree murder charge against Wright.
Kathy Doisy, 54, a retired University of Missouri research biologist, said today she felt “stunned disbelief” at news of the arrest in her sister’s homicide.”
Undated mug shot of Johnny Wright, charged in the the 1976 death of 23-year-old Rebecca A. Doisy in Columbia. He was arrested after he requested a background check from Lawrenceville Police in Gwinnett County, Ga. for a job application
March 21st, 2010, 04:05 PM
TY for your work on this story!
March 21st, 2010, 04:17 PM
TY and Yw ,all the info was just there and I really cut ALOT out.
Evil looking man
I love solved ColdXCases they are my fave
February 1st, 2011, 08:02 AM
The 66-year-old man that eluded police for 33 years was convicted Friday of murder.
Jurors deliberated for about six hours in Columbia, Mo., before deciding that Johnny Wright was guilty of second-degree murder in the August 1976 death of Rebecca Doisy, a college student.
April 12th, 2011, 07:16 AM
Ga. man sentenced to 30 years in '76 Mo. slaying
COLUMBIA, Missouri – A 66-year-old Georgia grandfather has been sentenced in Missouri to 30 years in prison for killing a waitress nearly 35 years ago and then going into hiding for the next three decades.
Suburban Atlanta resident Johnny Wright received the maximum sentence Monday from a Boone County judge. He was convicted in January of second-degree murder in the August 1976 disappearance and death of 23-year-old Rebecca Doisy. The former University of Missouri student's body was never found.
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