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    Anthony Lejuan Johnson charged with Tawana Blunt 2000 murder

    9:03 PM, Apr 11, 2012   |    comments
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    Video: Presser Video: Forrest City cold case from 2000 solved

    • Anthony Lejuan Johnson
    • Tawana Blunt

    FORREST CITY, Ark. (KTHV) - Police announce a break in the Tawana Blunt case, thanks to DNA.

    After 12 years of investigating, authorities say the murder of Tawana Blunt has been solved.

    "The family can finally find some closure. Justice does come if you're patient and have the faith," said Chief E-P Reynolds of the Forrest City Police.

    Police has charged Anthony Lejuan Johnson, 44, with Blunt's murder. He is currently in a maximum security prison in Lafayette, Indiana, for allegedly beating up his girlfriend.

    "Key DNA evidence in the Tawana Blunt homicide. The Arkansas State Crime laboratory reported a CODIS match to one Anthony Tony Lejuan Johnson," Chief Reynolds said. 

    But Forrest City police said they got a hit on him through a DNA database system, known as CODIS.

    When Indiana officials took samples from Johnson:

    "He just kind of casually asked, 'What are you taking samples from me for?' And when they told him, 'This is for Forrest City,' they said it looked like he had seen a ghost. Because this rascal thought he had gotten away with murder. But there is a God somewhere," said Chief Reynolds.

    Blunt's only daughter, Toikeya Blunt, three-years old at the time of the murder, briefly spoke to the media on Wednesday.

    "And being without her...it was so hard," Blunt said.

    19-year-old Tawana Blunt was returning home from work early in the morning on September 15th of 2000 when she was raped and strangled...her body discovered 18 hours later by her grandmother.

    Shantell McDowell is Blunt's cousin. She now lives in the same home where Blunt died.

    "When I first moved here I didn't know this was the home. I thought it was the one next door," McDowell said.

    Across the street from the home is a memorial cross, partially covered by time...but Blunt's memory is not forgotten.

    Her mother, Effie Turner, is grateful to police -- and thankful to God for bringing closure to her family.

    "We prayed. We suffered. And I don't want anybody else to have to go through this, and I pray and I thank the Lord for getting him off the streets so nobody else will have to feel what we've been through," Turner said.

    Johnson is now awaiting extradition to Arkansas. If convicted, prosecutors said they may seek the death penalty in this case.

    Johnson is now awaiting extradition to Arkansas. If convicted, prosecutors said they may seek the death penalty in this case.

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