HOUSTON COUNTY, Ala. (WDHN) — On April 15, 2008, Joe Johnson was shot and killed in his trailer at Coggins Trailer Park.
Johnson, who was known to friends and family as Tex, worked for his nephew at Coggins. He was a very precise and routine man, as he would always be out and about at the same time every day.
That’s why the day he was killed, people knew something was wrong.
“On that day we started the investigation for a homicide, Mr. Johnson had been shot twice,” said Major Bill Rafferty of the Houston County Sheriff’s Office. “And we worked the scene, there was quite a few of us out there. It’s in an area that as long as I’ve been here I didn’t even know there was a road there. It was at the corner of Saunders road and Hodgesville.”
After finding the victim’s stolen property, the sheriff’s office had one suspect in mind but was not able to provide sufficient evidence to charge said suspect.
“A case that we feel, it’s all circumstantial,” Rafferty said. “You know, there’s a saying catch them with the smoking gun in their hand. Well we caught them with the smoking gun in their hand, this individual just denied committing the crime.”
“Every lead that came in, every potential avenue, we followed. The state assisted us, at one point the city of Dothan; everybody was working on this case trying to solve it.” Rafferty added.
Houston County Sheriff Donald Valenza explained that no matter how old a case is, they don’t close it until they finish it.
“I mean you’re going to move on to other cases anyway but there’s always at any given time, something may come up in another town or another state similar to the one you had,” Valenza said.
Rafferty hopes that he will be able to close Johnson’s case before he retires in a few years to give the family peace and closure.