Preliminary hearing for suspect in Colorado Springs Walgreens homicide

COLORADO SPRINGS — Detectives who investigated the murder of Riley Whitelaw at a Colorado Springs Walgreens took half in a preliminary listening to on the case to find out if there’s sufficient proof to proceed to trial.

Throughout a preliminary listening to in Colorado, the prosecution is tasked with displaying possible trigger in persevering with the case. That is finished by reviewing proof alongside testimony with those that are concerned within the investigation and assortment of proof. The prosecution and protection groups cross-examine witnesses in the course of the course of.

The courtroom was full of individuals within the case, as was the digital listening to obtainable for individuals unable to attend in particular person.

Riley Whitelaw, a 17-year-old worker, was discovered lifeless by her supervisor within the break room on the Walgreens off Centennial Boulevard in western Colorado Springs on the night time of June 11, 2022. The supervisor had come to the shop to test on his crew member when she didn’t return from a break. Riley’s coworkers informed detectives she was “at all times on time” and her break was solely presupposed to be quarter-hour lengthy.

Her coworker, 28-year-old Joshua Johnson, was arrested later that night whereas strolling south alongside I-25 close to Walsenburg. He is dealing with a cost of first-degree homicide in connection to Riley’s demise.

Throughout the preliminary listening to, the lead detective informed the courtroom investigators had been capable of view surveillance video from the shop and says nobody within the retailer apart from Johnson might have been answerable for Riley’s demise. One other detective searched Johnson’s locker, discovering an empty sheath for the multitool they consider was used to kill Riley. The locker additionally held items of paper with Riley’s title and social safety quantity, and her boyfriend’s title, birthday, handle, and his social safety quantity. Video from Johnson’s residence reveals he appeared “in a hurried state” when he arrived there in the timeframe after the teenager’s demise, based on the detective. Johnson was sporting a hoodie that lined his head and most of his face as he entered and left the house carrying what gave the impression to be water and different gadgets, based on the detective.

The lead detective was additionally requested concerning the preliminary interview with Johnson after he was discovered strolling alongside I-25. He described Johnson as having an irregular haircut as if somebody had finished it themselves, and there have been noticeable scratches round his face, as seen in his reserving picture.

Johnson informed the detectives he ran from the shop after being attacked by one other man at the hours of darkness break room whereas responding to listening to a scream from Riley, based on the detective. He additionally claimed to have fallen in blood within the break room.

When requested about being seen close to the dumpster on the retailer, police say Johnson was making an attempt to vary his garments as a result of “he fell within the blood.” Johnson informed police he later went residence then began driving south as a result of he was afraid, then hid his automobile earlier than strolling. The supervisor on obligation mentioned whereas she was searching for Riley, she smelled bleach coming from the dumpster and noticed somebody’s toes, an unrecognizable voice of a person informed her he was altering, however she didn’t know who it was.

Detectives did a follow-up on Johnson’s declare of being attacked by a person with blue eyes. They decided the outline carefully matches the outline of an acquaintance of a that very same supervisor, however it was decided that particular person couldn’t have been current on the time of the killing. Detectives consider Joshua Johnson is the particular person answerable for the killing.

At present was solely the primary day of the listening to which is scheduled to renew subsequent Wednesday.

Based on the arrest affidavit, Riley informed her supervisor about one yr previous to the killing that Johnson made her really feel uncomfortable and was making undesirable advances towards her. Coworkers informed detectives they felt it was “inappropriate” for Johnson to have been interested by Riley as a result of she was a lot youthful than him.

Riley’s supervisor reportedly spoke with Johnson about her issues and her supervisor thought Johnson was “receptive”.

Based on the arrest affidavit for Johnson, the shop supervisor referred to as 911 simply earlier than 7 p.m. after discovering a physique within the break room and “blood in all places.” Police on the scene described discovering the younger lady with important trauma to her neck and a number of other stab wounds.

An interview with the shop supervisor revealed he turned involved when Whitelaw didn’t return from a break. He checked surveillance video and noticed Johnson, additionally an worker, stacking storage bins to dam a safety digital camera, based on courtroom paperwork. There was additionally paper taped over the breakroom window, plus a closed signal for the restrooms.

One other supervisor informed police she had smelled a powerful odor of bleach close to the dumpster space and encountered a person who mentioned he was altering on the time. That particular person was gone by the point the supervisor got here outdoors.

It was after reviewing the video that the shop supervisor discovered Riley’s physique. Based on the affidavit, the shop proprietor informed officers she had filed a criticism a yr in the past about Johnson following undesirable advances. She additionally had requested to work a unique schedule. Her boyfriend just lately began working on the retailer. Nevertheless, she later requested to have extra hours on her schedule, was informed that may contain working extra with Johnson, and he or she agreed, based on the lead detective within the case.

There is no such thing as a point out within the arrest affidavit if officers had been capable of recuperate the garments they consider Johnson was sporting on the time. He denied stacking totes in entrance of the digital camera when requested by officers.

A buyer returned to the scene when officers had been on the retailer. She informed police she heard a girl screaming and doable slamming of doorways when on the retailer earlier than 6 p.m.

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