Taylor Olson's lawyer says letters identify other suspect in Berry death

By: Rob Pratt
By: Rob Pratt

KNOXVILLE, Tenn (WVLT) -- Johnia Berry's accused killer takes his own life, leaving behind letters saying he did not commit the murder.

Now there are new questions about the investigation and what may be next.

Volunteer TV's Rob Pratt has more.

Taylor Lee Olson's attorney held a news conference this afternoon.

He stopped short of saying who his client accused of murder in his dying letters, but Johnia's mother says she's satisfied that Olson was responsible.

Taylor Lee Olson last spoke to us when he was first taken into custody.

"It was an accident."

But now, after his death, he is speaking again through letters he left behind.

Greg Isaacs, Olson's attorney says, "he has identified an individual that he says is responsible for the death of Johnia Berry."

Isaacs would not tell us who Olson named in his letter.

Olson is the only one charged with the crime.

He's been jailed since September on first degree murder and aggravated robbery charges.

The Sheriff's department says in a statement published on it's website that he was held in a cell alone.

Officers checked on him every hour.

Before 1:00 a.m. they found him with a piece of sheet around his neck, hanging from a clothes hook in the corner of his cell.

Joan Berry, Johnia's mother says, "I feel cheated I guess. You know we have a lot of questions that we'll never have answered."

Johnia's mother Joan Berry says she has mixed emotions, knowing that her family was spared the agony of a trial, and feeling Olson should not have been able to end this on his terms.

"He left instructions on the way he wanted his funeral and songs he wanted sang and how he wanted things done. My daughter didn't get to do anything like that. She didn't even get to tell us goodbye."

Berry says based on the DNA, she's confident Olson was responsible for the murder.

The District Attorney General's special counsel, John Gill, told us if there is anything to investigate, they will investigate it, but they won't make further comment until they confer with the victim's family.

Joan Berry has says her family will be talking to prosecutors, hoping to get answers to some of those lingering questions she mentioned.

There's no word yet on exactly when that may happen, but she says she's scheduled to be in Knoxville April 13 when she''ll take part in an event to help victims of crime.

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