Greene County murder suspect’s capture brings closure to victim’s family after 20 years

GREENE COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — The Greene County Sheriff’s Office is bringing closure for a family who lost a loved one in a 1996 murder.

The suspect in the murder, Donovan Johnson, escaped jail in Greene County in 1998 before going to trial. However, thanks to an anonymous tip Johnson was found in Chicago, where he was living by an alias, all while being wanted for the murder of Ollie Carpenter.

Carpenter’s family is having a hard time coming to grips with Johnson’s actions.

“I feel like if he was wrong, if he had any kind of Jesus in him, he should have been turned himself in,” said Peggy Carpenter, Ollie’s sister-in-law. “I don’t understand how he could live this long knowing he did an injustice.”

It was a day 19 years in the making as Johnson was escorted back to Alabama after escaping jail.

No words from the suspect just yet on his upcoming trial, but law enforcement officials are happy to see the tip lead to this result.

“I was able to determine that there was a high probability that this tip was credible,” said Jeremy Rancher, chief deputy with the Greene County Sheriff’s Office. “During the course of my investigation, [I] was able to learn that Donovan Johnson was using an alias name, which was Phillip Thomas, and that he was residing in the Chicago area.”

Johnson’s re-capture gave Ollie Carpenter’s family a sense of closure.

“Only thing I can go back to is that Friday night when they told me he was gone, and it did something to me,” Peggy Carpenter said.

Carpenter was shot and killed at age 29, and now, even years after his death, the family feels that justice is theirs.

“We can go to him now at the grave and say, ‘Hey bruh, it’s all over, it’s done, you can rest in peace now, because it’s all over’,” Peggy Carpenter said.

The case is far from over for Johnson however, as he also faces three attempted murder charges as well as a charge of receiving stolen property,


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