Local News

Fourth Person Charged In Connection With Weekend Shootings

Posted September 8, 2004

— A fourth suspect has been arrested in Saturday's double fatal shooting at a North Carolina State University football tailgate party.

Rachel Louise French, 20, of Apex, has been charged with accessory after the fact to murder. The Meredith College sophomore is accused of assisting Timothy Johnson, 22, in escaping detection and arrest, according to an arrest warrant. French was being held at the Wake County jail with bail set at $100,000.

"She was not trying to hide him," attorney Robert Nunley said. "She was trying to get him to turn himself in. There [were] some bad choices made along the way, we'll deal with those in due course."

Nunley asked a judge to lower French's bond or release her on house arrest in light of her cooperation. The judge denied the request.

Nunley says French led investigators to key evidence, including a weapon divers found in Jordan Lake on Tuesday.

"I think the state's case is a lot further along based on her cooperation -- they now have a gun, they have items of clothing with blood," Nunley said.

Nunley admits his client could have handled the situation better, but says she had good reason to do what she did.

"I think you're going to find there was a reason she would fear the Johnson brothers," he said.

Johnson, and his brother Tony, 20, are each charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Kevin M. McCann, 23, of Chicago and 2nd Lt. Brett Johnson Harman, 23, a Camp Lejeune Marine from Park Ridge, Ill.

Ashley Brown, 18, of Tarboro was charged as an accessory after the fact to murder. Investigators say Brown drove Tony Johnson to a hotel and helped him secure a room.

The Johnson brothers were denied bond during a court appearance Tuesday.

In open court, Nunley told the judge he believes one more woman will be arrested and charged as an accessory in the case.

Assistant district attorney Susan Spurlin says the investigation continues and she has not ruled out more arrests.

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