Autopsy reports paint grim scene in Johnson-Jones murders

Fair Oaks couple found by their godson

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By Stacey Sheridan

Staff Reporter

Thomas Johnson and Leslie Jones suffered violent deaths in their Fair Oaks Avenue home in April according to autopsy reports obtained from the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office. 

As previously reported both Johnson and Jones died of "multiple sharp force injuries.' But the autopsy report lays out in graphic detail the brutality of their murders. Johnson suffered nearly 20 stab wounds while the medical examiner reported Jones had been stabbed 34 times. Johnson's wounds were to the head, neck and shoulder area while Jones was stabbed in the head, chest, shoulder and arms.

According to the police report included with the autopsies, the married couple was discovered by their godson, who lived nearby. Relatives of Johnson and Jones had asked the godson to check in on them, as they had not been heard from since 7 p.m., April 9. 

Upon arriving at their home, the godson found the door closed, but unlocked. When he entered, he found Jones lying face down on the stairs with "obvious trauma to her head." Johnson was found lying in bed in an upstairs bedroom "with visible blunt force trauma to his head," the report states.

Oak Park police and paramedics arrived quickly at the scene after the godson called 911. Johnson and Jones were pronounced dead at the scene at 7:47 p.m. by a doctor from Loyola University Medical Center. 

The reports state that the home showed no signs of being ransacked, but Johnson's wallet was found on the bedroom floor, its contents strewn about. The offender's bloody footprints and paw prints from the couple's dog, who had been found alive, "were visible in the residence."

Oak Park police have been closed mouthed about the murders saying only that the investigation continues and that the resources of law enforcement beyond Oak Park have been called on.

Neighbors and friends of the well known and respected couple began to express concern and frustration over the lack of communication from police in article in last week's Journal.

Wednesday Journal gained access to the autopsy reports through a Freedom of Information Act request. News from the autopsies was first reported by the Chicago Tribune.

Johnson, 69, and Jones, 67, graduated from Harvard and were partners at the Johnson, Jones, Snelling, Gilbert & Davis law firm, which Johnson founded, in downtown Chicago. 

Jones specialized in real estate law, zoning and civil rights law and served as a clinical professor at Northwestern University, where she taught ethics and trial practice.

During his career, Johnson worked for affordable housing in Chicago and secured restitution for miners suffering from black lung disease. He represented several elected officials, including serving as campaign lawyer for Chicago Mayor Harold Washington and U.S. Congressman Jesus "Chuy" Garcia.

Johnson presided over many high-profile and often controversial police misconduct cases as a hearing officer for the Chicago Police Board.

Outside of their work, Jones and Johnson were involved in the Oak Park community.

Jones was active both as a board member and as president of the Oak Park Area Arts Council (OPAAC), championing the work of multicultural artists. As president, she led a group of board members in researching public art ordinances in other communities. She then drafted an ordinance, which was subsequently passed in Oak Park.

Johnson coached dozens of Oak Park children in youth baseball. As a couple, Jones and Johnson were active at Hephzibah Children's Association. Over the years, they welcomed many children into their home. 

They are survived in life by their four sons.

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Reader Comments

4 Comments - Add Your Comment

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Tom Braam  

Posted: September 19th, 2020 3:25 PM

Time for the OP police to tell us what they know, without further delay.

Jonathan Konrath from niagara falls ny  

Posted: September 17th, 2020 9:21 PM

i wonder if the foot prints can be shown to be a man or women?s and why was jones stabbed more than johnson. Hopefully they left dna behind. Cause then they got them. This is insane.

Bill Clark from Berwyn  

Posted: September 17th, 2020 8:53 PM

Agreed, Mr. Dwyer

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: September 17th, 2020 5:23 PM

Wow. 34 times. This was personal.

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