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Johnson probe leads to former drug house

Over the past 26 years, dozens of investigators have made runs at solving the apparently unsolvable murder of Donna Ogletree Johnson. Donna’s tortuous demise began sometime on July 15, 1984. She was savagely beaten, sexually violated with a metal rod, run over with a vehicle while still alive and finally dispatched with three blows to the head. Her body was dumped the next day on an old roadbed near a cornfield. Her car was found at some nearby dumpsters ‘“ a scene that many looking into the case now feel was staged to make it appear she was abducted. The story has taken many twists and turns over the years but investigators digging into the torture slaying don’t have to listen to sources very long before they become aware of The Mansion. THE MANSION The Mansion, according to those who frequented it, was a drug house located on Bishop Road in an area of Upson County known as The Valley. It had one light fixture with a single bulb and a well that provided water sporadically. It did land office business in the years prior to the killing. Characters with nicknames like Crackbaby and Junior D hung out there using drugs. ’Lots of marijuana went through The Mansion. This was not marijuana in bags, pounds or kilos. We are talking about bales of marijuana right off the boat that were run up there from Miami. They cut the bales up with saws so they could weigh it out on triple beams,’ one former mansion regular said. There was also speed in large quantities. Another former customer described large quantities of crystal methamphetamine arriving at The Mansion in duffel bags. ’It was the largest drug market nobody knew about. We’re talking about enough meth to furnish 50 families. There were some people spending $1000 a week on meth at the mansion,’ the former patron said. The two vehicles most often mentioned in connection with the Johnson murder are a green truck and a green station wagon. Both former customers remember a green station wagon and a green roofing truck that were often among those parked in the pines around The Mansion. ’All those guys were roofers. They had long hair and bandannas. Two or three of them were shooting up meth. There were knots all along their arms. They were real strung out. I cleaned my tools up after work and put them in my truck. They wore their roofing hatchets with pride,’ one mansion habitue said. Former Lamar sheriff Joe Buice has said for the record that Donna Johnson was killed with a roofing hatchet. Note: The Herald-Gazette series on the Johnson slaying has generated scores of tips for law enforcement. Still, more information is needed. If you know of anything that might contribute to this investigation, call the GBI regional office in Milledgeville at 1-478-445-4173; the Lamar sheriff’s office at 770-358-5159; or contact The Herald-Gazette at 770.358.NEWS(6397) and we will make sure your information gets into the right hands.

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