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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 


For the week of September 10 - 16, 2003

News

Arrests, information
awaiting release
of lab results

Memorial scheduled for murdered couple


"Iíve hardly had time to listen to rumors. Weíve been working 16-hour days. Iíd just ask that the community have faith in the law enforcement to find the person or persons who did this."

"We canít find any evidence that this is a random killing. I donít think the community needs to be in fear."

ó WALT FEMLING, Blaine County Sheriff


Memorial scheduled

Memorial services for Alan and Diane Johnson will be held at 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 11 at the old Wood River High School auditorium.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Alan and Diane Johnson Memorial Scholarship Fund at the First Bank of Idaho, Ketchum, Hailey or Bellevue branches.

According to Diane Johnsonís obituary, the family would like to express their deep and sincere gratitude to all the members of the community who showered them with love and support.


By GREG STAHL
Express Staff Writer

A week following the shooting deaths of a Bellevue husband and wife, investigators said they are waiting for information from the state crime lab in Boise before releasing more information.

Diane and Alan Johnson. Courtesy photo

"What I think now may change when the evidence comes back to me," said Blaine County Sheriff Walt Femling. "Itís a very difficult crime scene. Weíre not close until we get something from the lab.

"Iím hoping we get something back this week," he added.

In a Monday press briefing, however, Femling attempted to clear up some details he said he could discuss openly.

By late Tuesday, no one had been arrested for the murders of Alan S. Johnson, 46, and Diane M. Johnson, 52, who were shot in the bedroom of their Glen Aspen Drive home in southern Bellevue. Femling said authorities were investigating three "people of interest," qualifying that the three are not yet considered suspects.

Several "people of interest" outside the present three were removed from investigatorsí considerations during the course of the investigation, Femling said.

Fingerprints and DNA samples were collected from several "people of interest," Femling said.

"We have collected, probably, hundreds of pieces of evidence," Femling said. "Many were sent to the state crime lab. They have put it as a priority, and theyíre not finished with the process."

Femling said results from the crime labís research sometimes take months, but because of the priority status of this investigation, results could arrive this week.

Speculation about a possible murder-suicide has been ruled out, Femling said.

"This is a double homicide," he said. "The evidence has told us that."

1193 Glen Aspen Drive, the home of Alan and Diane Johnson, who were murdered in their bedroom on Tuesday, Sept. 2. Express photo by David N. Seelig

Diane Johnson was shot in the coupleís bed while Alan Johnson was taking a shower, Femling said. The sheriff declined to elaborate about where Alan Johnson was shot or where his body was found. The murder weapon, a rifle of an unspecified caliber, was found in the homeís master bedroom, where the shootings unfolded. The rifle was typically stored in the Johnsonsí guest house, which was rented to a tenant. The Johnsons did not own the weapon, Femling said.

Sarah Johnson, the Johnsonís 16-year-old daughter, was home at the time of the shootings. According to reports from neighbors, Sarah Johnson ran into the street following the sound of the gunshots and was screaming.

Matt Johnson, the Johnsonís son, was attending college at the University of Idaho in Moscow and arrived in Bellevue by Tuesday evening.

Femling declined repeatedly to speculate about what might have happened or who may have been involved in the early morning murders on Sept. 2.

"Rumors are a terrible thing in a small town," he said. "As soon as I name someone as a Ďperson of interest,í they are tried and convicted by this small town.

"You donít ever assume anything. The evidence will tell us what happened."

However, Femling said the residents of the Wood River Valley could rest assured that there is no elevated level of danger, despite the fact that the killer could be going about his or her life freely.

"We canít find any evidence that this is a random killing," he said. "I donít think the community needs to be in fear."

He recommended locking doors and being careful, things he called "regular precautions."

Femling said it does not appear that anything from the home had been stolen, qualifying that family members had not yet been allowed to return to the house to confirm that. He said the Johnsons generally lived with their doors unlocked.

As for debunking or endorsing any of the myriad of rumors that have circulated about the murders, Femling said the investigation would ultimately uncover the truth.

"Iíve hardly had time to listen to rumors," he said. "Weíve been working 16-hour days. Iíd just ask that the community have faith in the law enforcement to find the person or persons who did this."

Alan and Diane Johnson were married on April 23, 1983 and lived in Sun Valley until the time of their death.

According to his obituary, Alan was an avid trap shooter and was considered to be one of the premier trap shooters of Southern Idaho.

Alanís love for his children and the outdoors meant that he would be found either at their games and activities our out with his dog, Sage, hunting ducks and geese.

Alan was well known in the community for his hard work and attention to detail, but was never too busy to stop and chat or lend a helping hand.

According to her obituary, Diane Johnson worked for many years at the Hailey Medical Clinic and more recently worked for Blaine County Collectors.

"It is not possible to condense Dianeís personality into words," according to her obituary. "She was a loving, giving person, who never knew a stranger."

A memorial service for the deceased couple will be held 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 11 at the old Wood River High School auditorium.

 

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