OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Family and friends of 19-year-old Tiffany Johnston are speaking out about her while the trial for an accused serial killer continued in Oklahoma City.
“There are so many emotions. There’s happy, there’s sad, there’s hopeful [and] there’s missing her terribly,” said Johnston’s cousin Misty Witt. “I want everyone to know she was an absolutely beautiful person.”
Tiffany Johnston’s family and friends are reliving the nightmare from July 26, 1997, while learning new details.
“Most of the stuff is new to me because [I was] young when it happened,” said Witt. “I was really shielded from a lot of the stuff they had found.”
In a taped interview that was played in court, the suspect William Reece said he was washing a horse trailer at a Bethany carwash when the 19-year-old confronted him, claiming he sprayed her with water.
Reece confessed harsh words were thrown back and forth before the fight became physical. During the struggle, Reece said Johnston hit him in the head with a horse shoe. That’s when he decided to strangle her.
After Johnston was killed, he said he dumped her in a Canadian County field where her naked body was found the next day.
In 2015, DNA found on Johnston and calling card evidence linked Reece to the crime. Last week, the medical examiner testified she had been raped.
“Tiffany was strong. I’m strong. We come from a strong family and I know the things that I see and hear are just facts and pictures,” said Witt. “I can’t let that emotion get to me and I’m not going to let [Reece] see it for sure.”
Reece is also accused of killing three other young women in Texas around the same time.
Many family members of the other victims have been in the courtroom during this trial to support each other.
“Nobody knows what to say; this is like a mini support group and that’s been the best thing about this,” said Jenni McEachern, a childhood friend of Tiffany. ” Seeing the family and meeting people I’d heard about growing up with tiffany and then the other families, too.”
“For me personally, I can’t carry that heavy load of hate. So, he’s there because he is the suspect in this,” said Witt. “I wont let it faze me. He won’t see it faze me.”
Testimony resumes tomorrow morning at 9 a.m.