Arrest Made In Bradley County Cold Case Murder
Angela Lee
February 28,2006

Tuesday morning, a Georgia man was arrested in connection with a Bradley County murder that happened 17 years ago.

Samuel Gregory Johnson is being held at a Fannan County, Georgia jail while he awaits extradition back to Tennessee.

Bradley County and TBI investigators never gave up on putting together all the pieces of the puzzle together.

Bradley County Forensics Director, Barry Tharp has been with the department for nearly 24 years. He says on the morning of February 9th 1989, he was the first to respond to the call and secure the gruesome scene. He says, “I remember his body laying off in the woods, no vehicles around. A matter of fact his vehicle was found a few days later at Tiftonia's rest area.”

Tharp says he'll never forget seeing the lifeless body of James Carl Rose. Tharp says Rose was discovered lying face up just off of state highway 317 near Highway 60.

An autopsy revealed Rose had been shot in the head.

It was in 1997, new leads opened a door. The TBI says, Johnson had been talking about the case and leads were developed that eventually resulted in Johnson's indictment by the Bradley County Grand Jury on Samuel Gregory Johnson for First Degree Murder.

Tharp explains, “A number of years ago, some information came in on anther case we were working on.”

Tharp recognized it right away. He adds, “One statement led to another, led to another and David (TBI agent) continued to work on it.”

The TBI says, “Johnson who is a construction worker by trade, has been living in Hall County Georgia for many years. He was arrested Tuesday morning 100 miles away, in Fannan County, Georgia while paying off a bad check.

Tharp adds, “It was like a jigsaw puzzles and you keep building the pieces until the puzzle is pretty well put together.”

The TBI confirms the Johnson and Rose were acquaintances at the time of the murder but won't say what the motive was.

Johnson is charged in Fannan County, Georgia as a fugitive from Tennessee until he can be extradited back to Tennessee. Once he reaches Bradley County he will be charged with first degree murder. However, the TBI says Johnson is fighting extradition and it could be several weeks or even months before he is formally charged with the murder of Rose.