Man serving four life sentences confesses to 30-year-old Richlan - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Man serving four life sentences confesses to 30-year-old Richland Co. murder

Patricia Ann Green (Source: WIS) Patricia Ann Green (Source: WIS)
Phillip Johnson (Source: WIS) Phillip Johnson (Source: WIS)
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

The Richland County Sheriff's Department's Cold Case Squad has solved a 30-year-old murder case with the confession of a man already serving four life sentences for murder. 

Patricia Ann Green's body was found on May 10, 1987 just steps away from the entrance of McEntire Air Base in Hopkins in what he called a "gruesome scene," according to Sheriff Leon Lott.

Green was shot multiple times and left in a culvert.

"It was a case that they had absolutely no leads on," Lott said. "At that time, we didn't know what DNA was. Our forensics back then was fingerprints. That was about it."

All the evidence collected at the scene was sent to the FBI Crime Lab, but federal investigators came up empty-handed. However, with no leads, the case went cold quickly.

"The case was filed away, but not forgotten," Lott said.

Fast forward to 1997, when the county's Cold Case Squad was formed. Two more decades passed, but DNA evidence collected at the scene finally linked to a man already behind bars.

Phillip Johnson, 53, who Lott says is already serving time for four other murder cases in Sumter County, confessed to the crime. "He gave information in his confession that only the killer would have known," Lott said.

Lott said Johnson's motive was simple.

"There was no motive, just that he was on a killing spree," Lott said. "She was just somebody he shot and killed." 

Johnson has a lengthy criminal history including assault and battery with intent to kill, armed robbery, criminal sexual conduct, and kidnapping. He is currently charged with four counts of murder and with the crack in the case of Green's murder, it will soon be five counts. 

Lott credited the sheriff's department's professionalism and attention to detail, even 30 years ago, for finally bringing this case to a close. 

Cold Case investigators are now looking more closely at another unsolved killing involving Green's sister, 26-year-old Brenda Green, who was sexually assaulted and murdered two years prior to Patricia. Her body was discovered on Columbia's Pine Street on Christmas Day, 1984.

Copyright 2017 WIS. All rights reserved.

  • South Carolina news on WIStv.comNEWSMore>>

  • Freed after 2 years, man jailed in Venezuela returns to US

    Freed after 2 years, man jailed in Venezuela returns to US

    Saturday, May 26 2018 9:53 AM EDT2018-05-26 13:53:22 GMT
    Saturday, May 26 2018 11:25 PM EDT2018-05-27 03:25:31 GMT
    Senator Corker’s office tweeted out an image of Josh Holt and his wife before leaving Venezuela. (Source: Twitter/@SenBobCorker)Senator Corker’s office tweeted out an image of Josh Holt and his wife before leaving Venezuela. (Source: Twitter/@SenBobCorker)

    A Utah man has been released from a jail in Venezuela after spending nearly two years behind bars on weapons charges.

    More >>

    A Utah man has been released from a jail in Venezuela after spending nearly two years behind bars on weapons charges.

    More >>
  • 'Quiet revolution' leads to abortion rights win in Ireland

    'Quiet revolution' leads to abortion rights win in Ireland

    Saturday, May 26 2018 2:43 AM EDT2018-05-26 06:43:19 GMT
    Saturday, May 26 2018 11:24 PM EDT2018-05-27 03:24:56 GMT
    (Niall Carson/PA via AP). A man walks past a mural showing Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year-old Indian dentist who had sought and been denied an abortion before she died after a miscarriage in a Galway hospital, with the word YES over it, in Dublin, Irel...(Niall Carson/PA via AP). A man walks past a mural showing Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year-old Indian dentist who had sought and been denied an abortion before she died after a miscarriage in a Galway hospital, with the word YES over it, in Dublin, Irel...
    Official counting is set to begin in Ireland's historic abortion rights referendum, with two exit polls predicting an overwhelming victory for those seeking to end the country's strict ban.More >>
    Official counting is set to begin in Ireland's historic abortion rights referendum, with two exit polls predicting an overwhelming victory for those seeking to end the country's strict ban.More >>
  • Amid anti-immigrant sentiment, some Spanish speakers wary

    Amid anti-immigrant sentiment, some Spanish speakers wary

    Saturday, May 26 2018 2:14 PM EDT2018-05-26 18:14:01 GMT
    Saturday, May 26 2018 11:24 PM EDT2018-05-27 03:24:49 GMT
    (AP Photo/Chris Carlson). Lilly Mucarsel, a native of Ecuador, poses for a picture in her office Friday, May 25, 2018, in Tustin, Calif. Mucarsel, 62, of Southern California finds herself reverting to English when she attends a baseball game or goes to...(AP Photo/Chris Carlson). Lilly Mucarsel, a native of Ecuador, poses for a picture in her office Friday, May 25, 2018, in Tustin, Calif. Mucarsel, 62, of Southern California finds herself reverting to English when she attends a baseball game or goes to...

    The Trump administration's harsh rhetoric and tougher policies toward immigrants have made some Spanish speakers self-conscious about speaking other languages in public.

    More >>

    The Trump administration's harsh rhetoric and tougher policies toward immigrants have made some Spanish speakers self-conscious about speaking other languages in public.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly