Trucker MURDERED IN MICHIGAN During Deadly Drug Deal?
“I just kept saying, ‘Stay with us, we need you bud.’” – Stanielle King, alleged witness to the murder of truck driver Kevin Johnson
St. Joseph County, Michigan – Stunning testimony in a St. Joseph County district courtroom on Wednesday has shed new light on the events that led to the murder of 41-year-old Kentucky truck driver Kevin Johnson.
Transportation Nation Network (TNN) first reported on Johnson’s murder back in November and has been closely following new developments. On Wednesday came what some will view as shocking developments.
Let’s Review The Facts In The Case
Before we delve too deeply into the new developments, lets remind you of what happened. Officers were dispatched to a mobile home on Flowerfield Road in Flowerfield Township, Michigan, in the early morning hours of Thursday, November 15. Upon arriving, police discovered the body of trucker Kevin Johnson, having been shot dead in the chest, laying near the front steps of the home. Also found was Johnson’s tractor-trailer parked on the residential street in the front of the home.
Investigators quickly identified persons of interest and in only a few days arrested and charged three suspects, Tyler McNeil, 20, Kayla Chaney, 24, and Theron Hunt, 40, each with 1 count of open murder, armed robbery and felony firearm.
TNN, along with our sources, reached out to investigators about what Johnson might have been doing there that night. However, officials would not divulge anything more about the case at that time.
Then on December 12, 2018, TNN reported McNeil and Chaney waived their right to a preliminary hearing, instead choosing to move directly to trial on the charges against them. Hunt, however, did not forgo a preliminary examination of the charges against him. Hunt’s hearing got underway on Wednesday, and startling new testimony painted a different picture about what happened that night.
Meth Deal Goes Bad And Ends In Johnson’s Murder
Stanielle King is the owner of the home where Johnson’s murder took place. On Wednesday she testified in Hunt’s preliminary hearing that Johnson messaged her the night he was murdered asking to purchase meth for he and his girlfriend, whose identity is being withheld at this time.
According to a source close to the investigation, King once lived in Kentucky near where Johnson and his girlfriend lived. King was friends with Johnson’s girlfriend and Johnson met King through his relationship with his girlfriend.
TNN sources indicate Johnson and his girlfriend had frequented King’s home a few times for dinner and to buy drugs on their way through the area along Johnson’s trucking route.
King testified that she reached out to Hunt that night, whom she said she had only met the day before, in hopes he had the drugs she needed to meet Johnson’s request. When Hunt said he did, King gave Hunt directions to her home.
King says when Hunt arrived to her home he was accompanied by both McNeil and Chaney. The three of them, according to King, beat her and then taped her mouth, eyes and hands while holding her at gunpoint. She says McNeil then held a knife to her back and led her to her bedroom.
King then testified that while McNeil smoked meth and kept her subdued, Chaney and Hunt ransacked her house looking for drugs and other valuables to steal. She says Chaney and Hunt were removing items from her home and placing them in their car outside when Johnson and his girlfriend pulled up in his semi.
King testified that as Johnson and his girlfriend entered the home she “heard a shuffle.” She says Johnson was then thrown to the ground as she [King] was struck in the head with a gun Chaney was holding.
As she struggled to regain consciousness, King said, “The next thing I recall hearing was the boom.” That boom she says was the gunshot to the chest that killed Johnson.
King then said the suspects fled in their vehicle and Johnson’s girlfriend began screaming for help. She said Johnson attempted to pursue the suspects after he was shot, but was unable to get far and fell onto the steps in front of the home.
“I just kept saying, ‘Stay with us, we need you bud,’” King said of her interaction with Johnson after he had been shot.
During her testimony King did admit that she was “high” at the time of the deadly altercation. The defense attorney pounced on this and called into question King’s drug use and prior criminal history of drug possession.
At one point during her testimony, the judge warned her about the possibility of incriminating herself in connection with additional crimes, but King said, “I’d rather have that than not have justice for Kevin.”
“The Scene Was Pretty Bloody”
Also testifying on Wednesday was Deputy Kevin Brooks from the St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Office. Brooks testified that he arrived to King’s home shortly after 3 a.m. and found Johnson’s semi out front with lights flashing.
Brooks testified that he looked inside the semi and found King, covered in blood, along with Johnson’s girlfriend. Brooks told the court the women told him that Johnson had been shot and the suspects had fled the scene.
As Brooks approached the home he said he discovered Johnson’s body near the front steps. “The scene was pretty bloody,” Brooks said.
Brooks testified that the home was in shambles. “It seemed like the place had been ransacked,” Brooks recalled.
The preliminary hearing is expected to conclude today. At its conclusion the judge will make a determination if enough evidence exists to require Hunt to stand trial for the murder of Kevin Johnson.
The upcoming trials of the suspects will reveal even more information about these tragic events and TNN will continue following the developments.
UPDATE: TNN has now confirmed the preliminary hearing has concluded and the judge in the case found probable cause for Theron Hunt to stand trial for the murder of Kevin Johnson. The trial date is expected to be this year. We will continue to follow this story.