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Johnson case tips continue to accumulate

Investigators from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Lamar sheriff’s office continue to investigate the now 26-year-old mystery of the murder of Donna Ogletree Johnson. ’The GBI and the sheriff’s office continue to follow leads in the case,’ GBI spokesman Tom Davis said Friday. Sheriff Larry Waller declined to comment on the case. In the meantime, information continues to develop from interviews conducted when the case was revitalized by former sheriff Joe Buice in 2005. Additionally, the identities of those interviewed at the time continue to come out. Among those questioned by authorities was Marc Newman, now 59, of Canton. Newman and Mrs. Johnson worked together at Rack Right, a division of Eckerd’s charged with organizing its drug stores. Newman, a white male, was questioned about an affair he was alleged to have had with the victim. He told investigators the romance never evolved beyond the hand-holding stage. Also questioned was Terry Edgar Pruett who lived at the time on Johnson Street in Barnesville. Pruett told investigators that Edward (Junior) Denton often bragged while drinking heavily that he had killed Johnson and cut off one of her nipples which he kept in a pickle jar. Denton died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Autopsy photos show both Johnson’s nipples intact. Pruett was polygraphed by investigators in 1996. Mike Johnson, the victim’s nephew, told investigators he was told by his grandfather on the day of the murder that his Aunt Donna had gone to the dumpsters and not returned. He went to the site and found her abandoned car. Mike Johnson also did not recall calling the sheriff’s department to file the missing persons report and said he would not have done so unless his grandfather told him to. He said the family was told it took 13 hours to prepare Donna’s body for the funeral due to the severe nature of her injuries. Mike Johnson was about 17 at the time of the murder. Hiram Dunn was interviewed and reported seeing two black males near a pulpwood truck near the place where the body was found. The men were later identified and cleared. Dunn is now deceased. Marty Fordham contacted investigators to say he spotted a large, silver four-wheel drive pickup truck in the vicinity of where the body was found during the rainstorm that preceded the location of Johnson’s body.

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