‘There is no closure on love.’ Victims’ families speak out after judge sentences convicted serial killer to death

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma family finally sees justice 24 years after a young newlywed’s murder. 

“There’s an old saying in the law, ‘justice delayed is justice denied,’ justice will not be delayed any longer in this case, I sentence you to death,” said Judge Susan Stallings

Judge Stallings sentenced accused serial killer William Reece to death in an Oklahoma County courtroom Thursday. 

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William Reece after being sentenced to death.

In 1997, Tiffany Johnston was abducted from a Bethany car wash. 

Her body was found in a field in Canadian County a day later. 

Investigator connected Reece to Johnston’s murder. 

The jury found him guilty in June.

Johnston’s mother has been fighting for answers for more 20 years. 

“He might’ve killed her, but he can’t take my memories,” said Kathy Dobry. “I believe in God and all that, but I’ll never forgive him… and I’m glad people can, but not this momma.”

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Tiffany Johnston

Tiffany wasn’t Reece’s only victim. 

Reece is also accused of and confessed to killing three other young women in Texas around the same time Johnston was murdered.

In 2016, Reece led investigators to a grave in Texas, containing remains of 20-year-old Kelli Cox’s body. 

Cox’s mother and daughter were both in the courtroom Thursday. 

“He will not be able to ever do this to anyone else,” said her mother, Jan Bynum. 

“No one needs to go through this, not even William Reece himself would I wish this upon him,” said Kelli’s daughter, Alexis. 

Alexis was only 19 months old when her mother was murdered. 

“It flipped my entire life upside down,” she said. 

The family of 12-year-old Laura Smither, a Texas child Reece admitted to killing, was sitting alongside the Coxes. 

“He will never be able to get out and harm another child, that’s very important,” said Laura’s mother, Gay Smither. 

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An image of William Reece next to images of his victims.

Smither carries a picture of Laura on necklace that sits close to her heart. 

“Keep dancing baby,” she said, “Laura loved to dance and she’s free to dance for all eternity now.”

Even though real ‘closure’ doesn’t exist for any of these families, they feel justice was served. 

“It doesn’t change anything… it just helps everybody so that he can’t hurt anybody else,” said Deborah Maxwell, Laura’s aunt. 

“You do what you got to do to keep going,” said Alexis Bynum. 

“There is no closure on love,” added Smither. 

Reece also admitted to killing Jessica Cain in Texas. 

The victim’s families also want this to be a reminder that this can happen to anyone. 

The defense filed to appeal the death penalty ruling. They declined to interview.

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