Oklahoma County prosecutors have charged a Texas felon with the 18-year-old murder of an Oklahoma woman.
William Lewis Reece, 56, is currently at the Ellis Unit of the Texas Department of Corrections, serving a 60 year sentence for an aggravated kidnapping that happened in Harris County, Texas in 1997, the same year that 19-year-old Tiffany Johnston was found murdered.
DNA evidence links Reece to the crime.
On Monday, Reece was charged with one count of first-degree murder and one count of kidnapping in the case. Kathy Dobry, Tiffany’s mother, had this to say about the news someone has finally been held accountable for her daughter's death.
"We are happy he was already in jail, so he wasn't out killing someone else," Dobry said during an exclusive interview with News 9. "But yet we were angry at the same time because you're back to the questions – why? How come? Why didn't someone speak up before."
On July 26, 1997, Johnston's car, a 1995 Dodge Neon, was found abandoned at the Sunshine Car Wash off NW 23 Street and Rockwell Avenue in Bethany.
Her body was found a day later, dumped on the side of the road near Gregory Road and Interstate 40.
Her mother said Johnston had been beaten, sexually assaulted and strangled to death, but her money, her jewelry, her paycheck and tips were all found in the car, untouched.
Dobry said she was persistent in keeping in touch with investigators involved in her daughter’s case, calling them on a weekly basis. She credits Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) director Stan Florence and Lynn Williams, the investigator who took over her daughter's cold case, for helping solve the case.
“And he went back through all the paperwork, he went back and talked to the witnesses. he pushed for the DNA to be reexamined,” Dobry said. “If it hadn't been for Lynn, it would have never gotten this far, because cold case had it for 18 years! They didn't do anything.”
Dobry told News 9 she never gave up hope her daughter's killer would be found.
She just can't believe it took so long to do it!
“18 years and 2 months," Dobry said.
From her home in Anadarko, Dobry can only wonder what could have been had her daughter not been murdered.
“She liked everybody,” Dobry said. “She never seen a stranger. She talked to everyone.”
And that may have been her downfall.
Court papers state in past interviews with investigators, Reece admitted to knowing Johnston's family, but would not say how. The owner of the Sunshine Car Wash where Johnston's car was found told investigators he had seen Reece at the car wash eight to 10 times.
Telephone records show Reece made a call at a pay phone, calling near Interstate 40 and Mustang Road several hours after she was abducted and very near where her body was found.
Now, all this mother wants is justice.
“In my lifetime, I really don't figure I will see him prosecuted, because he will fight coming to Oklahoma,” Dobry said.
She would like to see prosecutors seek the death penalty in this case.
“He should suffer for killing my child,” Dobry said.
Reece also spent time in an Oklahoma prison for kidnapping and rape back in 1987.
He was released in 1993.