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Victim's daughter: I'd ask accused killer, "why?"

3 years 5 months 1 week ago December 10, 2013 Dec 10, 2013 Tuesday, December 10 2013 December 10, 2013 5:19 AM in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Ryan Naquin

BATON ROUGE - News of an arrest, nearly two decades after a brutal slaying, is bittersweet for family members who were robbed of precious memories.

Monday, Baton Rouge Police arrested James Johnson, 39, for the January 1995 killing of Lester Yarbrough and Patricia Jackson. An infant was also shot in the gunfire at an apartment complex on Florida Blvd.

"Police found him in a pool of blood and multiple gun shot wounds and money just everywhere. That's how it was described to me," Veronica Pierson said, speaking to WBRZ News 2 about her father's murder. She never met him, Yarbrough.

"I was born March 1st, 1995, and my father was murdered January 4th, 1995. So I really didn't get anything, not a father, not a hug, nothing," she said. "It was mixed feelings when I heard about the arrest because I never met my father. I didn't know how I was suppose to feel."

"What we believed occurred was a robbery," Corporal John Dauthier said.

Dauthier was in charge of the cold case investigation that made the arrest. The department was able to bring charges after a witness' testimony put Johnson at the scene and was then backed up by harder evidence.

"This witness was present shortly after a time the murder occurred in 1995 where he heard statements made by the suspect admitting his culpability in these crimes, he reported that to police and we confirmed and corroborate that information recently and solved this case," he said.

Police say in 1995 Johnson's mother made up a phony story to cover for her son's crime.

Johnson's mother will not be charged. The statute of limitations for obstruction has passed, according to police.

"If I was to talk to him I would want to know why," asked the now 18-year-old Pierson. "Was it really that serious? Did you really have to do that?"

Pierson feels closure but it has not made the fact she lost her father any easier.

"From a child to their parents, you feel something and that's when I started to get aggravated and almost cry because I really just don't have a father," she said.

Police are looking for a second suspect.

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