The trial in a twenty-four year old murder case that was supposed to be heard at the end of the month has been postponed yet again.
Defense attorney Dee Wampler says that he and Greene County Prosecutor Darrell Moore will meet with Judge Michael Jamison next Thursday in St. Louis and come up with another trial date for Gerald Carnahan. Wampler says, " DNA testing and taking depositions in the case are the reason for the postponement."
Dee Wampler (above)
Prosecutors say that the now 52 year-old Carnahan allegedly raped and murdered Jackie Johns on or about June 18, 1985. Johns', 20, was a part time waitress, and former homecoming queen. Her nude body was found four and a half days after her disappearance floating in Lake Springfield.
Jackie Johns (above)
Witnesses claim to have seen Carnahan sitting in his truck behind a business in Nixa where the young woman was last seen alive. Carnahan admitted that he knew Johns, having once employed her, but told cops he had an alibi for that night.
He claimed to have been at a bar with his step daughter, Sara Collins, when the murder took place--and she backed him up at the time. Carnahan, was indicted in 1986 by a grand jury on tampering with evidence charges for allegedly lying to investigators who questioned him about Johns murder. However, those charges were dismissed by a judge who said, "lying does not constitute physical evidence of a crime." Carnahan's step-daughter, Sara Collins, was also indicted by the grand jury for perjury, but was later found innocent by a judge.
Gerald Carnahan was always at the top of the list as far as suspects in Johns' homicide, but it wasn't until October of 2006, that Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper, Sgt.Daniel Nash, had "some time on his hands," and asked if he could look into cold cases.
The case he picked was the Jackie Johns case. Evidence that was collected from Jackie's vehicle, and the vaginal swab taken from the woman's body 22 years earlier had been preserved.With new advances in testing available, the trooper took the preserved evidence to the state crime lab in Jefferson City.
The trooper received a DNA profile in March from, Cody Wright, Jackie John's boyfriend at the time of her murder.....there was no match. On August 8th, 2007, Sgt. Nash presented his case to a judge and asked for a warrant to obtain a DNA sample from Gerald Carnahan as there was no DNA profile either in CODIS, OR AFIS, for the man. The judge issued a warrant for a sample of Carnahan's DNA.
Within twenty four hours of the buccal swab from the cheek of Carnahan there was a match between Carnahan's DNA profile and the vaginal swab that had so prudently been cared for by officers for twenty-two years.
In the winter of 2008 and into the spring of 2009, a myriad of pre-trial motions (at least 23,) and at least 31 specific motions for discovery filed by defense attorneys, clog the Carnahan case file. Today (07-09-09) Wampler said, "we went to Louisiana last month to dispose and interview witnesses, and we have to conduct many more.....I don't see this case being heard before the end of the year."
Darrell Moore (above)
Moore, who is running for 7th Congressional District seat, says he will keep his job as prosecutor while campaigning seeking help from staff inside his office, but will continue to be lead attorney in the Gerald Carnahan murder case.
In June of 2008 the case was moved to St. Louis County on a change of venue.
Timeline----In Jackie Johns Case: Gerald Carnahan DOB 4/15/58
June 17, 1985 -- Jackie Johns' a part-time waitress at the Nixa Livestock and Sale Barn Cafe and former Nixa Homecoming queen goes missing.June 18, 1985 -- Johns' black Camaro is found on the shoulder of U.S. 160 between Nixa and Springfield. Investigators found a "large amount of blood,"as well several pieces of woman's clothing (they include: a woman blouse, blue jeans, panties and a bra that are "soaked in blood," in the back seat of the vehicle. A car jack that has blood and strands of hair on it are found in the trunk. Jackie's keys were still in the ignition.
June 22, 1985 -- After an intense 4 and a half day search by the community, Jackie Johns' nude body was found by two fishermen in Lake Springfield. She died of severe head injury to the right side of the head (blunt force trauma,) she also had severe blows to the face. An anonymous caller states that they saw Carnahan's very distinctive truck at the 7-Eleven in Nixa at/or about the same time (10:30-11:00 p.m.) as Jackie Johns on June 17th.
June 24, 1985 -- Gerald Carnahan, who was 28 at the time, is questioned by police about Jackie's murder. He admits that he knew Johns, (having employed her at one time,) but insists that at the time of Jackie's murder, he was at a bar with his stepdaughter, Sara Collins. Collins, backs his story up. Carnahan admits to owning a pickup truck matching anonymous caller's description.
June 29, 1985 -- Officers conduct an interview with a witness who reported seeing Carnahan at 7-Eleven in Nixa on June 17th.
Jan. 18, 1986 -- Officers interview a witness who said he/or she saw Carnahan's truck parked on the side of a road near the intersection of CC in Nixa . The witness said that when he/or she asked Carnahan about what was wrong with the vehicle, he denied being there. The witness said that over the years Carnahan approached him/or her several times, saying "not to tell authorities, or the grand jury that he/or she saw the truck."
1986 -- A grand jury indicts Carnahan on charges of tampering with physical evidence. The charge alleges Carnahan lied to police during interviews. A judge dismisses the case, saying "lying does not constitute physical evidence."Carnahan's step-daughter, Sara Collins, is indicted by the grand jury for perjury.1987---- Sara Collins is found innocent of perjury by a judge.
March 1993 -- Carnahan attempts to kidnap an 18-year-old woman from the side of Ingram Mill Road in Springfield. He is convicted on that charge, and sentenced to two years in prison for the crime.
July 1993 -- Police are dispatched to Gerald Carnahan's home in response to an alarm. Carnahan is drunk, and brandishes a shotgun at responding officers. During a struggle with authorities, he kicks an officer. He is later sentenced to 15 months in prison for assaulting an officer, and using a gun while drunk.
Sept. 17, 1993 -- Carnahan burglarizes and set fire to Custom Aluminum Foundry in Aurora. He later pleads guilty to the burglary, ($60,000 worth of equipment was stolen) and arson and is sentenced to four years in prison.
Sept. 29, 1993 -- A witness steps forward who says Carnahan confessed to killing Jackie Johns to him/or her, saying: "Yeah I know, I did it, but they are so incompetent, they can't prove it."Sept. 19, 1997 -- Carnahan is released from jail on the arson and burglary charges.
Fall of 2006-----A Missouri Highway Patrol Trooper "with time on his hands," asks to review cold cases and picks the Jackie Johns case. Evidence that was collected from Jackie's vehicle, and the vaginal swab taken from the woman's body 21 years ago had been preserved. With new advances in testing available, the trooper takes the evidence to the state crime lab in Jefferson City.
March 2007---The trooper, Sgt. Dan Nash, received a DNA profile from Cody Wright, Jackie John's boyfriend at the time of her murder.....there is no match.
Aug. 8, 2007 ---The trooper, Sgt. Daniel Nash, presents his case to a judge.There was no DNA profile either in CODIS, OR AFIS, for Gerald Carnahan. The judge, issues a warrant for a DNA profile on Gerald Carnahan.
Aug. 9, 2007 --- Gerald Carnahan, 49, is arrested and charged with first degree murder, and forcible rape for the killing of Jackie John's. If convicted on the murder charge, Carnahan could receive the death penalty, or life in prison. If convicted of forcible rape, he could receive 10 to 30 years on. A life sentence in the state of Missouri is 30 years.
March 2008---Judge finds there is probable cause for Carnahan to stand trial for Johns murder.
May 2008----Greene County Prosecutor Darrell Moore announces that he will NOT seek the death penalty in the case. Cites age and health of Johns father, Les, as a contributing factor in his decision.
October 2nd, 2008----Dee Wampler and Darrell Moore appear in a St. Louis County courtroom where judge Michael Jamison sets an evidentiary hearing for December 5th; and a tentative trial date of July 27, 2009.
December 5, 2008-----Gerald Carnahan takes the stand for the first time in the Jackie Johns murder case to request the judge set a reasonable bond with conditions so that he could be released until trial. According to defense attorney Dee Wampler, the judge stated, "this is a serious case and that even though he had been in jail for 15 months....that is exactly where he will stay."Wampler also filed a motion with the court to have Greene County prosecutor Darrell Moore disqualified from the case citing a conflict of interest. An assistant prosecutor with Moore's office had gone to work for the law firm of Wampler and Passanise, but has since returned to the prosecutors office. The judge denied that motion as well.
Winter 2008 - Spring of 2009-----A myriad of pre-trial motions (at least 23,) and at least 31 specific motions for discovery filed by defense attorneys clog the Carnahan case file.
July 9, 2009-----Defense attorney Dee Wampler says that he and Greene County Prosecutor Darrell Moore will meet with Judge Michael Jamison in St. Louis to come up with a new trial date. Wampler says, "we went to Louisiana last month to dispose and interview witnesses, and we have to conduct many more.....I don't see this case being heard before the end of the year."
Feburary 2010-----Defense attorney Dee Wampler is diagnosed with kidney and prostate cancer. Carnahan's March trial date is postponed while Wampler undergoes surgery and treatment. New trial date of September 13, 2010 is set. Les John's, Jackie's father, says he doesn't believe the case will ever proceed to trial. John's says if it does, he doesn't believe he will live to see it happen.