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Old 03-25-2014, 08:27 PM   #106
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Yikes. That does sound like the same Tom Johnson. Amazing and similar circumstances all around.

But what did he get out of this second attack other than the thrill of killing? He got an expensive (for the time) computer when he attacked Jeremy and Heather. But this? I guess the "thrill" of raping a young woman. What a waste of a person. Killers like that are extra scary because it's not quick with them. They want their victims to have a very slow, drawn out, painful death.
The most tragic irony is that very computer that this scumbag killed an innocent young woman for (and almost Jeremy as well) would be absolutely worthless now (or even probably by the late 90s/2000).

He was either a sociopath or some kind of sadist, I agree these are the most dangerous and calculatingly heartless killers. Obviously, the monetary value itself wasn't the only motive (if it were, he could've just done an armed robbery on a bank for that much or more), but he probably did get some sick enjoyment and thrill out of the murder itself. Particularly if he did an almost identical thing again a couple years later.

The "female accomplice backing out at the last moment" theory is the only one that makes sense, if we're to take the complaint to the front desk at face value - i.e. if it happened before the attack, when Jeremy & Heather had been out at breakfast. And judging by his wife sticking with him through a very similar murder, I doubt it would've been her. I really wonder who, though? I assume the cops interviewed the front desk clerk, and perhaps even had a time the complaint was filed, so I doubt they would've been off by an hour, if it had been another guest filing a legit complaint about the actual screams as the attack was occurring.
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Old 03-26-2014, 12:41 AM   #107
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Are you referring to Jeremy, who was also attacked? Unfortunately, he died in a car accident after joining the Peace Corps. I believe that happened around 1997.

No, i was referring to the murderer Tom Steeples who committed suicide in 1994, i was wondering if there were any photos of him at all because then we can see if Steeple and Johnson look alike.
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Old 03-26-2014, 12:48 AM   #108
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Interesting that he lured Jeremy and Heather to Georgia to commit his crimes instead of staying in Nashville. I wonder what led him to make that decision and then later begin committing murders locally.
I always found that to be an interesting and confusing aspect of this case. Apparently, Jeremy, Heather and "Tom Johnson" all lived in TN (or at least Tom claimed he did), so I always wondered why they all met in GA, especially with the knowledge that Jeremy had been up for like 30 hours at that point. I know I certainly wouldn't want to be behind the wheel of a car if I had been up for that long. And apparently, they planned to drive back after the transaction was closed?

But, I do have a possible theory on that, having just rewatched this case yesterday for the first time in years. There are two tidbits that are essentially "blink and you'll miss it" moments, but can offer big clues. First, Stack says at the beginning of the segment that Tom Johnson identified himself as a freelance worker in the field. Then, a little later, says that Jeremy's ad was placed in a trade publication.

In regards to Tom Johnson's claims of being a freelance worker, while a lot of what came out of Tom Johnson's mouth were lies, I wonder if that was at least partially true. It may also explain why the computer was never found.
Freelance workers don't have a set, 9-5 job and are at the same desk every day, so it probably wans't a matter of Tom installing the computer in his work office the next day and arousing suspicion. I wonder if he also did at least some of his work at home. In any event, I think the computer was designed for a specific purpose (music video editing was it?) so there are really only 2 places that will be useful (for the most part): Nashville and Los Angeles. By committing the crimes in Marietta, I think he was hoping police think it was more a random, crime of opportunity than a planned attack, because he knows that if the police find out the computer was designed for music video editing, and he is a freelance worker in that field, then he could wind up on the suspect list.

Which sort of ties in to my next point about trade publications. I have hardly any knowledge of trade publications, but from what I can ascertain, they aren't magazines that can be picked up by any random person at the market. Rather, they're geared toward a specific audience and the owner can create a specific recipient list. Again, I think Tom was worried this might be traced back to him if the police found out about the ad (which they did). So again, I think he lured them to Marietta to give the impression it was some local nut who committed these crimes.

I could be completely wrong, but I think it's possible.
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Old 03-26-2014, 07:58 AM   #109
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^^^

These are good points, that also point to Steeples. He was in the computer business, and was at one time a very successful owner of a computer store.
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Old 03-26-2014, 08:16 AM   #110
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No, i was referring to the murderer Tom Steeples who committed suicide in 1994, i was wondering if there were any photos of him at all because then we can see if Steeple and Johnson look alike.
Sorry, I was talking about the husband you mentioned in your post who you thought should look at the photos of Steeples.
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Old 03-26-2014, 12:15 PM   #111
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That's him. That has to be him.
I am going to pick on you, MegtheEgg, but only because I respect your work and because your opinion seems representative of the group.

The thing is, I don't feel like the M.O. explained in this article about Tom Steeples, Rob, & Kelli really matches this murder at all.

One of the things that has always bugged me about this case is why Tom Johnson, whoever he was, took so much time executing his plan. He tells them he is waiting for someone he knows isn't coming (the business partner), so they go to breakfast and come back, and after getting them to load the computer in his car, he shoots the breeze with them for another 20 minutes, before Jeremy, by his own account, essentially has to goad this guy into getting the robbery plan under way by pressing the issue: JEREMY asks, essentially, "When can we get this deal done and go the hell home?", and only THEN does Tom Johnson pull the gun. Why was it necessary - or even desirable - to sit around BSing with these two people he intended to rob for 20 full minutes, pretending to wait for someone who wasn't coming?

That all says to me this was someone who was a little nervous, was somehow hoping maybe he could get an opportunity to take off with the computer without ever having to engage in a physical confrontation with Jeremy & Heather. Maybe he could talk them into taking a walk, or going to grab some coffee or whatever, and he wouldn't have to pull his gun. Then, when he finally is forced to use force, he lets Jeremy live even after Jeremy has explicitly stated to his fiancée that if she stops screaming, he'll leave. Tom Johnson heard that if I recall the segment correctly, and when she stopped screaming, he stopped hitting, and did leave. He left, in other words, knowing full well Jeremy was alive. He made no attempt to change that. He made no attempt to rape anyone. Everything about how the crime went down suggests to me he did not necessarily intend to kill these two (although he was certainly reckless if he thought hitting someone with a hammer a few times wouldn't kill them).

This Tom Steeples guy was clearly out to murder and rape. Other than that it was in a hotel room, I feel like these are very different types of crimes.
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Old 03-26-2014, 01:20 PM   #112
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I am going to pick on you, MegtheEgg, but only because I respect your work and because your opinion seems representative of the group.

The thing is, I don't feel like the M.O. explained in this article about Tom Steeples, Rob, & Kelli really matches this murder at all.

One of the things that has always bugged me about this case is why Tom Johnson, whoever he was, took so much time executing his plan. He tells them he is waiting for someone he knows isn't coming (the business partner), so they go to breakfast and come back, and after getting them to load the computer in his car, he shoots the breeze with them for another 20 minutes, before Jeremy, by his own account, essentially has to goad this guy into getting the robbery plan under way by pressing the issue: JEREMY asks, essentially, "When can we get this deal done and go the hell home?", and only THEN does Tom Johnson pull the gun. Why was it necessary - or even desirable - to sit around BSing with these two people he intended to rob for 20 full minutes, pretending to wait for someone who wasn't coming?

That all says to me this was someone who was a little nervous, was somehow hoping maybe he could get an opportunity to take off with the computer without ever having to engage in a physical confrontation with Jeremy & Heather. Maybe he could talk them into taking a walk, or going to grab some coffee or whatever, and he wouldn't have to pull his gun. Then, when he finally is forced to use force, he lets Jeremy live even after Jeremy has explicitly stated to his fiancée that if she stops screaming, he'll leave. Tom Johnson heard that if I recall the segment correctly, and when she stopped screaming, he stopped hitting, and did leave. He left, in other words, knowing full well Jeremy was alive. He made no attempt to change that. He made no attempt to rape anyone. Everything about how the crime went down suggests to me he did not necessarily intend to kill these two (although he was certainly reckless if he thought hitting someone with a hammer a few times wouldn't kill them).

This Tom Steeples guy was clearly out to murder and rape. Other than that it was in a hotel room, I feel like these are very different types of crimes.
But you aren't factoring that "Johnson" murdered Uffelman in 1992, while the other murders occurred 2 years later, when Steeples drug habit had steadily gotten worse. If he was a novice, or amateur, or wasn't out to murder anyone, why not tie them up and simply leave? Why go out of his way to brutally beat them with a hammer? He didn't rape anyone because that wasn't the motive...the motive was to steal the computer. Drugs could have screwed him up to the point where he began to become more of a sadist and more violent than previously. Both crimes occurred where a man lied to a couple, pretending to be someone he wasn't, who just so happened to also lie to each couple and say he was waiting on another "associate" (in "Johnson's" case it was a business partner, in Steeples case he told the couple he was calling a music producer to meet them at the hotel) who also did not exist, who got each couple to meet him in a motel room, AND both couples were beaten to death. That's not a similar MO. That's exactly the same crime, save for the rape.
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Old 03-26-2014, 02:20 PM   #113
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I guess my point is that this "Tom Johnson" had the opportunity to murder both Heather and Jeremy, had the means to do so, had to know that at least Jeremy was not dead, when he elected to stop the attack and leave... And attack he seemed reluctant to begin in the first place, given his apparent attempts to stave it off for as long as possible.

All this does not necessarily mean that Tom Johnson is NOT in fact Tom Steeples, just that I don't see how you can draw the definitive conclusion that the two men are one and the same on the basis of these two attacks.
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Old 03-26-2014, 03:35 PM   #114
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I guess my point is that this "Tom Johnson" had the opportunity to murder both Heather and Jeremy, had the means to do so, had to know that at least Jeremy was not dead, when he elected to stop the attack and leave... And attack he seemed reluctant to begin in the first place, given his apparent attempts to stave it off for as long as possible.

All this does not necessarily mean that Tom Johnson is NOT in fact Tom Steeples, just that I don't see how you can draw the definitive conclusion that the two men are one and the same on the basis of these two attacks.
The only difference in the attacks was that Heather was not raped. We don't know whether or not "Tom Johnson" thought Heather or Jeremy were dead. In the frenzy of the attack (and amongst Heather's screams) he may not have heard Jeremy telling Heather to be quiet. Jeremy says he saw "Johnson" wiping prints, but for all we know, he thought both of them were dead due to the silence in the room.
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Old 03-26-2014, 03:36 PM   #115
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I guess my point is that this "Tom Johnson" had the opportunity to murder both Heather and Jeremy, had the means to do so, had to know that at least Jeremy was not dead, when he elected to stop the attack and leave... And attack he seemed reluctant to begin in the first place, given his apparent attempts to stave it off for as long as possible.
I think this could be explained by the woman who reported the "disturbance" to the motel desk. If she was indeed an accomplice of Johnson's (maybe even his wife), perhaps his apparent reluctance was simply him waiting on this woman to arrive for her part in this whole scenario--which never happened. So Johnson went ahead with a quickly improvised version of the plan. This may also explain the two weapons--one person's job could have been intimidation with the handgun, the other's could have been the assault with the hammer.

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All this does not necessarily mean that Tom Johnson is NOT in fact Tom Steeples, just that I don't see how you can draw the definitive conclusion that the two men are one and the same on the basis of these two attacks.
Tom Steeples committed at least one additional murder that was not sexually motivated. He killed a Nashville bar owner to whom he owed a gambling debt in 1993.
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Old 03-27-2014, 05:45 AM   #116
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One of the things that has always bugged me about this case is why Tom Johnson, whoever he was, took so much time executing his plan. He tells them he is waiting for someone he knows isn't coming (the business partner), so they go to breakfast and come back, and after getting them to load the computer in his car, he shoots the breeze with them for another 20 minutes, before Jeremy, by his own account, essentially has to goad this guy into getting the robbery plan under way by pressing the issue: JEREMY asks, essentially, "When can we get this deal done and go the hell home?", and only THEN does Tom Johnson pull the gun. Why was it necessary - or even desirable - to sit around BSing with these two people he intended to rob for 20 full minutes, pretending to wait for someone who wasn't coming?
Your posts are so misinformed it's almost comical.

Jeremy has to essentially goad this guy into getting the robbery plan under way? That makes it seem like you're suggesting Jeremy asked for his/had it coming, which is grossly untrue. Never blame the victims.

Also, if you're going to use quotation marks, it's a good idea to use the actual statement, verbatim. Otherwise, you are paraphrasing, in which case the apostrophe is more appropriate. I'm 100% sure Jeremy never said "hell" in the re-enactment.

The fact of the matter is, we have no idea what his plan was in the first place. We have no idea if the female making the complaint was his accomplice or not. We have no idea if there really was a business partner or not. We have no idea if he brought the gun and hammer with intentions on using it on them all along, or if her brought it as a defense mechanism in case he tried to make a run for it and Jeremy gave chase. It's also important to note that I don't believe he anticipated Heather coming along with Jeremy, there's no proof he had knowledge of her being there beforehand. I think that may have even caused him to alter his plan.

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Originally Posted by mozartpc27
That all says to me this was someone who was a little nervous, was somehow hoping maybe he could get an opportunity to take off with the computer without ever having to engage in a physical confrontation with Jeremy & Heather. Maybe he could talk them into taking a walk, or going to grab some coffee or whatever, and he wouldn't have to pull his gun. Then, when he finally is forced to use force, he lets Jeremy live even after Jeremy has explicitly stated to his fiancée that if she stops screaming, he'll leave. Tom Johnson heard that if I recall the segment correctly, and when she stopped screaming, he stopped hitting, and did leave. He left, in other words, knowing full well Jeremy was alive. He made no attempt to change that. He made no attempt to rape anyone. Everything about how the crime went down suggests to me he did not necessarily intend to kill these two (although he was certainly reckless if he thought hitting someone with a hammer a few times wouldn't kill them).

This Tom Steeples guy was clearly out to murder and rape. Other than that it was in a hotel room, I feel like these are very different types of crimes.
I actually agreed with the first part of that before your post went downhill again.

Technically, by what you are suggesting, he let Heather live also because Heather, like Jeremy, didn't expire at the scene. She lived for another few hours before dying at the hospital. So your point really makes no sense.

Also, you have your facts wrong. Jeremy stated that he told Heather to "stop screaming and he'll leave", at which point Tom began to hit him more, then turned and hit Heather more. The segment clearly states that.

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just that I don't see how you can draw the definitive conclusion that the two men are one and the same on the basis of these two attacks.
I don't see how you can conclude Aeileen Conway wasn't murdered because of the presence of skid marks, but you did. But that's for another thread.
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Old 03-27-2014, 02:44 PM   #117
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Also, you have your facts wrong. Jeremy stated that he told Heather to "stop screaming and he'll leave", at which point Tom began to hit him more, then turned and hit Heather more. The segment clearly states that.
Yes, it seems I misremembered that detail. Once you pointed it out, I realized the error - I didn't have the segment handy when I wrote up my post.

And that change does indeed make me re-think my previous post; it increases the sense that the crime was needlessly brutal. I still think it's possible, given the aggregate of circumstances, that "Tom Johnson" was trying only to knock Jeremy & Heather out (as I said in a much earlier post in this thread, I think sometimes people get the impression from movies that one blow to the head is enough to knock somebody out, but in real life it's a lot messier) so he could get away. But because he hit Jeremy some more after Jeremy said that about Tom's leaving, it makes it seem less likely.

As to the rest of your post: I guess I don't understand. Do you think that your aggressive nitpicking of my post and your open and unprovoked hostility towards me makes me look bad?
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Old 03-27-2014, 07:38 PM   #118
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Yes, it seems I misremembered that detail. Once you pointed it out, I realized the error - I didn't have the segment handy when I wrote up my post.

And that change does indeed make me re-think my previous post; it increases the sense that the crime was needlessly brutal. I still think it's possible, given the aggregate of circumstances, that "Tom Johnson" was trying only to knock Jeremy & Heather out (as I said in a much earlier post in this thread, I think sometimes people get the impression from movies that one blow to the head is enough to knock somebody out, but in real life it's a lot messier) so he could get away. But because he hit Jeremy some more after Jeremy said that about Tom's leaving, it makes it seem less likely.

As to the rest of your post: I guess I don't understand. Do you think that your aggressive nitpicking of my post and your open and unprovoked hostility towards me makes me look bad?
Kids, don't make me turn this car around!!

I just caught up on this thread. I had no idea about the Tom Steeples/Tom Johnson connection. It is definitely an interesting lead, to say the least. There are an awful lot of similarities in the crimes.

Pure speculation, but I agree that "Tom Johnson" seemed nervous when he held up Heather and Jeremy. I agree with the line of thought that "Tom Johnson" hadn't killed anyone before. He MAY NOT have intended to kill Heather and Jeremy, but was thrown into a rage when she started screaming. Can't say for certain. I wasn't there. For all we know, he WASN'T nervous, but UM chose to portray him that way. While it's true he didn't rape Heather, we have no way of knowing if he had every intention of doing so, but her screams thwarted his plans.

As for the killings 2 years later, if it IS the same guy, I have no problem believing that he wasn't nervous about it. He'd done it before. It wasn't foreign territory to him anymore. And if he had a drug problem like Tom Steeples did, it would make it that much easier.

I'm no expert, but I am leaning towards "Tom Johnson" and Tom Steeples being the same dude. There are a lot of similarities you can't ignore. I wish there were a way to tell definitively so Heather and Jeremy's family can get closure...
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Old 03-28-2014, 04:51 AM   #119
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Kids, don't make me turn this car around!!

I just caught up on this thread. I had no idea about the Tom Steeples/Tom Johnson connection. It is definitely an interesting lead, to say the least. There are an awful lot of similarities in the crimes.

Pure speculation, but I agree that "Tom Johnson" seemed nervous when he held up Heather and Jeremy. I agree with the line of thought that "Tom Johnson" hadn't killed anyone before. He MAY NOT have intended to kill Heather and Jeremy, but was thrown into a rage when she started screaming. Can't say for certain. I wasn't there. For all we know, he WASN'T nervous, but UM chose to portray him that way. While it's true he didn't rape Heather, we have no way of knowing if he had every intention of doing so, but her screams thwarted his plans.

As for the killings 2 years later, if it IS the same guy, I have no problem believing that he wasn't nervous about it. He'd done it before. It wasn't foreign territory to him anymore. And if he had a drug problem like Tom Steeples did, it would make it that much easier.

I'm no expert, but I am leaning towards "Tom Johnson" and Tom Steeples being the same dude. There are a lot of similarities you can't ignore. I wish there were a way to tell definitively so Heather and Jeremy's family can get closure...
On the contrary, Jeremy describes him as being smooth, cool and collected. Several times as a matter of fact. I agree that there may have been hesitation, but I wouldn't necessarily equate that with nervousness. Jeremy said they were totally duped by this guy. I think if Tom Johnson had been nervous (fidgety, or whatever) that may have tipped them off.
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Old 03-28-2014, 08:07 AM   #120
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Didn't investigators say they found the hammer wrapped in plastic? I wonder if (while wrapped in plastic) he hit them repeatedly to (obviously) conceal prints, but also this may be why he kept hitting them over and over and Jeremy remained conscious the whole time.
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