Cops: Ex-WR killed jogger: Thomas Johnson Dallas
Published: October 14, 2015
Cops: Ex-WR killed jogger: Thomas Johnson Dallas, A former star football recruit whose receiving skills brought him prominence at Texas A&M while Johnny Manziel was the quarterback told police he hacked a jogger to death because things were not going his way.
Thomas Johnson, 21, had recently lost his housing and was angry with his life when he repeatedly struck the runner using a ‘large-bladed knife’ and lodged the weapon in the man’s head on Monday.
After the early-morning attack on the popular White Rock Creek Trail in Dallas, Johnson used a cellphone to call 911 to say the victim ‘was laying down with a sword in his head and not moving.’
A bicyclist identified only as Brandon told police he saw the attacker repeatedly striking the jogger in the head, an arrest warrant affidavit revealed on Tuesday, according to NBC Dallas.
The cyclist said: ‘As I get closer and closer I could tell it was a machete and there are repeated blows that are occurring.
‘It was apparent to me by the time I got close that there was nothing that could be done for the person.’
After calling 911, Johnson stayed at the scene and spoke with a responding officer, saying, ‘I just committed capital murder’ and adding that he ‘just picked somebody to murder.’
The affidavit said when the officer asked him to explain, Johnson said only, ‘It’s like when you don’t wake up.’
The suspect also said he had been ‘put out of his home’ but it was unclear for how long.
The male jogger, whom police have not yet identified, died at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.
On Monday, Dallas police Deputy Chief Rob Sherwin said: ‘It appears that Mr Johnson picked this victim at random.
‘It’s absolutely random. He just attacked him.
‘He told our homicide detectives that he was angry about a situation and he just picked somebody to murder.
‘I believe there’s more to that story. It’s just very unusual. It’s quite shocking.’
Johnson was being held Tuesday at the Dallas County jail, charged with murder and two counts of probation violation.
Just a few years ago, it appeared Johnson would use football as a gateway to fame and fortune.
As a standout athlete at Skyline High School in Dallas, he was one of the nation’s top recruits before signing in 2012 with the Aggies after originally committing to play football for Texas.
When he left to attend college, residents of the South Oak Cliff neighborhood where he grew up were extremely proud of Johnson, according to CBS Dallas.
A former neighbor said: ‘Everyone was proud of him but you could tell after he lost everything that his whole life changed.
‘He just went down.’
At A&M, Johnson contributed as a true freshman, playing in ten games and starting two at wideout.
His brief collegiate career culminated with three catches in a startling 29-24 road win over top-ranked Alabama when Manziel was just beginning to capture national attention.
But Johnson disappeared two days later and was found after 48 hours on a street near his old high school.
During the bizarre incident, Johnson vanished one hour before A&M was set to practice and the college listed him as ‘missing’ on the front of its website, My San Antonio reported.
One of his teammates, running back Tra Carson, said: ‘When Thomas disappeared – that was shocking,
‘I didn’t know what was going on at the time, and to this day, I don’t really know what happened.’
His disappearance was never publicly explained, but he never returned to A&M or football.
Johnson’s mother, Linda Hanks, told the Houston Chronicle that neither she nor her son wanted to discuss his reasons for leaving.
‘Thomas is just a very private person, but he’s always been a good kid,’ Hanks said at the time.
‘Respectful, accountable and bright.’
Texas A&M declined to comment on the murder charge against Johnson, saying in a statement, ‘This is an awful tragedy for all involved.’
Johnson has not had any involvement with the football program over the past three years, the school said.
At the time of Monday’s attack, Johnson was being sought for probation violations.
Court records show that in January he admitted to burglarizing a home and stealing a vehicle.
He had broken into his aunt’s home last year, stole money and left in her vehicle, court records show.
His aunt said in an arrest affidavit last year that Johnson ‘has been causing problems in the family for a long period of time.’
Records show he had multiple violations of the terms of his probation, including for testing positive for marijuana and failing to complete community service.
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