If you were a hard-boiled homicide detective searching for evidence of foul play in the home of a man suspected of killing his wife, would a stack of life-insurance papers on the man’s dining table be a big fat clue?
When LBPD Detective Todd Johnson searched my sister’s house on March 4, 2014, he overlooked many clues, including life-insurance papers on the dining table. These documents appear incidentally in police photos, as if Johnson didn’t notice them, and therefore didn’t request additional, detailed photos.
Scott wrote: “Once the perspective was corrected and the image enlarged, it is apparent that the document is a State Farm document. It is possible that it is a bill or a statement of the account status. …I was unable to clarify the text on the document any further. This is due in part to how small the document is in the overall, original image.”
The same photo shows the sunglasses with attached Bluetooth earphones that Cain a.k.a. Huck was wearing when he returned from walking the dog, a key point in his murder alibi. Also, the photo shows a credit card on a yellow tablet. Was this the card used to make an online purchase in Dana’s name on the morning of March 3, 2014, which police claimed as “proof” that Dana was alive and well somewhere in her house? I wish Johnson had noted the credit card number because not even Scott’s perspective correction can make it clear.
This stuff was in plain view. If the yellow tablet and credit card had been in focus when the photo was taken, we’d have additional clues to work with. But no. Because Johnson. To me, this is just another example of Johnson’s relentless inattention to detail regarding my sister’s case.
How does he manage to keep his job? A recent report by Jeremiah Dobruck and Kelly Puente in the Long Beach Post suggests intimidation may have something to do with it. After Judge Judith L. Meyer criticized Johnson and his partner in open court regarding a different botched investigation, police paid her a visit to convince her to recant. She obliged, writing a secret letter in praise of the detectives.
Judge Meyer issued the March 4, 2014, search warrant in my sister’s case. On Judge Meyer’s authority, Johnson was commanded to search my sister’s house for evidence of murder. Johnson bungled the search. Who will hold him accountable for his dereliction of duty? No one, it seems, not even the judge.
On the bright side, the article says Johnson has been removed from the homicide unit, confirming what I wrote last year about his demotion. Still, the Long Beach police need to keep him on the force, I guess, because he’s so good at “finding no evidence” of wrongdoing. He’s a perfect fit for Internal Affairs.