A man accused of the stabbing murders of three people in a Belleville hair salon nearly 12 years ago is fighting his return to Illinois to face charges.
In October, Samuel L. Johnson, 52, was finishing a seven-year prison sentence in Missouri for possession of marijuana when he was charged in St Clair County with three counts of first-degree murder. In court Friday in Mississippi County, Mo., Johnson announced that he would not waive extradition to Illinois.
Johnson was charged with the slayings of Doris Fischer, 79; her sister, Dorothy Bone, 82; and their hairdresser, Michael Cooney, 63. The three were found stabbed to death in a grisly scene at Cooney’s home-based beauty shop at 7813 W. Main St. in Belleville on March 2, 2005.
St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly said Saturday he’ll continue working to have Johnson brought to Illinois.
“We routinely work with our counterparts in other states when defendants fight extradition. We are working with the Missouri prosecutor to get this defendant back to our jurisdiction as soon as possible, as we do in many cases where our suspect may be out of state,” Kelly said.
Efforts by defendants to fight extradition typically are futile, but can result in delays.
Belleville police reopened the investigation in 2014. Charges against Johnson were filed in October.
Fischer and Bone were at Cooney’s getting their hair done when the killings happened. Cooney’s next customer found the bloody scene and called police.
Then-Police Chief Terry Delaney said Cooney was the primary target of the attack.
Johnson was arrested six days after the killings, but was charged only with an attempted residential burglary of Cooney’s home two year earlier, in December 2003.
Johnson’s cell phone was used to make calls to Cooney twice on the morning of the killings. Both calls bounced from a cell tower less than two miles from Cooney’s home.
No one was charged with the killings for more than a year until a fingerprint found in Cooney’s recovered Nissan Pathfinder led to charges against a St. Louis teenager, Darrell “Rell” Lane. He was later acquitted after defense lawyers successfully argued Lane only went for a joyride in the stolen car and had nothing to do with the killings.
Johnson went to prison on the charge of attempted residential burglary and was released in 2010.
Three years later, Johnson was arrested on drug and weapons charges. He was finishing his seven-year prison sentence on those charges when he was charged with the Belleville murders.
Johnson remains in the Missouri Department of Corrections in Charleston, Mo., as he fight extradition to Illinois.
His next court date is Feb. 14 in Mississippi County, Mo.