Richard Johnson murdered two young people in cold blood and now may be freed on parole, but you can help stop his release.
It was a sunny afternoon on February 11, 1976. Cathy LaCorte was 18 years old, with her whole life in front of her.
She had recently graduated high school when she and her boyfriend Bob Morton decided to take a short hike in the mountains above Arcadia, California, a quiet suburb east of Los Angeles.
As they finished their hike, they were confronted by Richard Johnson, a man they'd never met. He forced them into the back of Bob's VW van, bound their hands, then shot them in the face and head with a .22-caliber rifle.
Homicide investigators had few leads since nothing connected Johnson to the two people he murdered. To this day, the best explanation of a "motive" is only that he wanted to kill some people. He was suspected of killing before, but never charged due to a lack of evidence.
This time, the evidence was there. His rifle matched shell casings left at the scene, he'd left a partial handprint on the van's door, and he couldn't help bragging to some friends.
A jury in Pasadena convicted Johnson, sentenced him to death for two counts of First Degree Homicide. The victims' families didn't really expect him to be executed, given California's history, but confident that he'd die in prison.
Then the politicians took over.
First, the death penalty was overturned and his sentence reduced to two "life in prison" terms, to be served at the same time. Under California's nutty laws, Johnson was eligible for parole LESS THAN SIX YEARS after murdering two young people in cold blood.
Now, Cathy and Bob's family fight his release every few years.
On January 30, 2013, they will once again sit in a small room with Richard Johnson, as he asks the parole board to release him back into society.
Please let the parole board know that "life" should mean life, and to keep Richard Johnson (B78960) in prison.
Ken LaCorte, on behalf of Cathy and Bob's families.