Berry Suspect Arrested, Charged

By: Jim Freeman Email
By: Jim Freeman Email

Knoxville (WVLT) - Nearly three years after the murder of 21 year-old Johnia Berry, the Knox County Sheriff's office has made an arrest in the case.

Sheriff Jimmy "J.J." Jones announced the arrest of 22 year-old Taylor Lee Olson on Knoxville. He's charged with seven counts, 3 counts of felony murder, first degree murder, attempted first degree murder, and two counts of aggravated robbery.

"It's a great day in Knox County. After countless hours and investigation, we are pleased to announce that 22 year-old Taylor Olson of Knoxville has been charged and indicted with the murder of Johnia Berry," said Sheriff Jones. "His bond was set at one million dollars."

It's all in connection with the December 2004 attack of Johnia Berry and her roommate, Jason Aymami, at their Brendan Park Apartment in West Knoxville. Berry died of her stab wounds. Aymami survived and ran to a nearby convenience store for help. He also worked with police to get a composite sketch of the suspect, which is pictured below.

Sheriff Jones says some tips led them to believe Olson was a person of interest in the case. During an arrest for a probation violation and failure to appear charge in July, they say he voluntarily submitted a DNA sample. Police arrested him on Friday, September 21 in the parking lot of the West Town Mall. Sheriff Jones says there's no evidence at this time to suggest Olson knew Johnia or anyone who lived in her apartment.

Olson has a criminal history in both Knox and Sevier Counties. Charges include theft, harassment, and reckless driving. Most recently, prosecutors charged him just last month with theft and aggravated burglary. Olson was due for an arraignment for the burglary charges on September 25.

District Attorney General Randy Nichols says a decision on whether prosecutors will seek the death penalty in this case will be made at a later date.

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