Editorials

Salon triple slaying suspect needs to be afraid

Samuel L. Johnson is in the St. Clair County Jail awaiting trial. He is charged with the triple stabbings of salon owner Michael Cooney and sisters Dorothy Bone and Doris Fischer on March 2, 2005, in Belleville.
Samuel L. Johnson is in the St. Clair County Jail awaiting trial. He is charged with the triple stabbings of salon owner Michael Cooney and sisters Dorothy Bone and Doris Fischer on March 2, 2005, in Belleville. Provided

Doris Fischer. Dorothy Bone. Michael Cooney.

More than 12 years have passed since the three were repeatedly stabbed at Cooney’s home-based beauty salon in west Belleville. Two sisters enjoying time together, until something evil that had nothing to do with them entered.

Their friends and family still await justice.

A teen was charged and acquitted shortly after the murders. Samuel L. Johnson is the current suspect, and faces trial Jan. 18.

He spoke from jail, painting his prosecution as a web of lies.

Lies from the woman whom he’d told he “messed up” after her distinctive knife went missing. Lies from jailhouse snitches trying to make bond.

“There is no evidence at all.”

We shall see.

One certainty is that prosecutors would never put the families of those elderly sisters through the inevitable reliving of that nightmare and the ugly truths likely to come out unless this were more than a Hail Mary play.

And while it may not be a big part of the calculus, it is unlikely that a prosecutor with political aspirations would move ahead with such a high-profile case were it not solid.

Johnson has more reason to worry than his jailhouse interview indicates.

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