Victim had met accused killer before

Scales of justice
WLUK file photo.

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) – The man accused of killing a taxi driver in Grant County had stiffed the driver for a $90 cab fare last year, prosecutors say.

Timmy Johnson Jr. is accused with robbing and fatally stabbing Merle Forbes, 79, last Thursday, just hours after Johnson was released from jail. Officers said they found Forbes in the trunk of his cab after Johnson led them on a chase in the cab through La Crosse County. The chase ended in a crash that caused minor injuries to three people in another vehicle.

Court records say Forbes picked up Johnson in Darlington last August and took him to Boscobel. Johnson allegedly told Forbes he needed to retrieve the $90 cab fare from an apartment. When he failed to return after 20 minutes, Forbes called police, The La Crosse Tribune reported.

Johnson, 25, eventually pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor charge and was sentenced to the 24 days he had already served in jail.

La Crosse County Circuit Judge Todd Bjerke set bond for Johnson on Monday at $500,000 cash after finding probable cause for charges, which were not immediately filed.

Johnson could face a homicide charge in either La Crosse County or Grant County, La Crosse County Assistant District Attorney Jessica Skemp said.

Police and court records show Johnson was released from jail last Thursday morning in Grant County, where he was serving time for car theft. Forbes left around 5 p.m. that day to pick up a fare and didn’t return. Some of his belongings were found that night on a dead-end road near Lancaster.

blog comments powered by Disqus