Trial continues for accused serial killer in Oklahoma teen’s 1997 disappearance, death

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The death penalty trial for accused serial killer William Lewis Reece continued Wednesday afternoon in the Oklahoma County Courthouse.

Reece is accused of killing 19-year-old Tiffany Johnston in Bethany in 1997.

Bethany Police Chief John Reid took the stand near the beginning of day two. Back in 1997, then-sergeant-Reid testified he noticedJohnston’s lone white Dodge Neon was still in a stall at a Bethany car wash.

Tiffany Johnston

Attorneys provided photos of the car at the Sunshine Carwash near Northwest 23rd and Council in Bethany. The chief testified Johnston’s car mats were still hanging up, her keys were in the ignition and her doors were unlocked.

Reid said he searched the car to find any more clues to who it belonged to. In the glove box, he found a leather note pad with several numbers written on it, including her husband’s pager number.

Johnston’s husband, Ryan Johnston, testified he went out to search for his wife after noticing she wasn’t home and that she hadn’t left a note. He said as he searched, he received a page on his pager from the Bethany Police Department, to which he responded.

The chief and detective testified they knew Johnston was a missing person after hearing from her husband. Later, Bethany police realized they did not have the resources to take on a case like this and asked for help from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations.

The next day, three people stumbled upon Johnston’s body while searching for another missing woman. All three testified the 19-year-old was naked, except for a bathing suit top, and lying face down in a Canadian County field.

Attorneys showed the jury graphic crime scene photos. The investigator described the pictures and pointed out red marks on Johnston’s hands and arms.

William Reece

Johnston is one of William Reece’s four alleged murder victims. Victims Laura Smither, Kelli Cox, and Jessica Cain were allegedly murdered in Texas.

A few of Reeces other alleged sexual assault or rape victims took the stand.

One of them, Sandra Sapaugh, testified Reece kidnapped her at knife-point in Texas. She escaped by jumping out of his moving truck on the interstate.

While serving a 60-year sentence for that conviction, Reece’s DNA was obtained and later linked back to Tiffany Johnston’s murder in Bethany.

Later, detectives said they found a calling card allegedly used by Reece at a payphone near Johnston’s body.

The defense argues anyone could have used the card.

Day three of the trial starts 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

The prosecution is seeking the death penalty.

The defense is trying to prove the jury will be unable to determine Reece did it beyond a reasonable doubt, which is required in a death penalty trial. The defense argues there is room for error.

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