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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  • by ktown on Oct 15, 2007 at 08:55 AM
    your not safe
  • by me Location: tn on Oct 7, 2007 at 06:51 PM
    Um to the person who said taylor didnt do it...didnt you see him say "im sorry, it was an accident" on the news! (that is a confession) Also, there is DNA proof. You are all acting like this is the first time this guy has been in trouble, it's not. Im sorry if you know him, but please be realistic. I for one feel a lot safer now that he is in custody.
  • by me Location: NE on Oct 4, 2007 at 12:10 AM
    Taylor didnt do it...he wouldnt do something like that. I am with him through this all the way. He is family and I love him to death. You all need to know all the facts.
  • by anonymous Location: knoxville on Oct 2, 2007 at 10:39 PM
    Ikol- I could not agree more. I said the exact same thing earlier today. Also the initials ML on the CD. Could be the initials of the killer if not taylor OR... possibly a friend of his who was either there with him or loaned him the CD...ect. Does anyone know of any friends Taylor had with the initials ML???? any friend who match the sketch more than taylor do?? 5'8 150 lbs??
  • by anonymous Location: anywhere on Sep 28, 2007 at 11:06 AM
    I'm thinking about both families. I know how hard it must be for the berry family. This probley makes it easier. But there's no possible way taylor olsen did it. Maybe he was there, (hence the dna) but if it was an "accident" there would've been one stab and that's it. So for the real person who did it he obviously stabbed lots of times meaning to. And a Killer is not going to feel remorse the way taylor did. He didn't do it. I pray for his family to get through this and I pray for the Berry family to find the real killer so they can put this behind them.
  • by Anonymous Location: kansas City on Sep 27, 2007 at 01:30 PM
    We are praying for Taylor and his family. The sketch looks nothing like him.
  • by Anonymous on Sep 27, 2007 at 12:41 PM
    Shame on the sheriff for smiling and laughing at the press conference. Thought he was pretty sure of himself and then all the sudden he can't confirm the DNA. The sketch looks nothing like him. If I lived in Knoxville I would be worried about this sherriff.
  • by none Location: knoxville on Sep 26, 2007 at 03:25 PM
    We are praying for Taylor's family!!!
  • by Ikol Location: knoxville on Sep 26, 2007 at 01:23 PM
    He didn't do it alone. How could he have stabbed Jason if he was stabbing Johnia in the other room?? he would have to have been in two pllaces at once. There was at least one more person involved, and i hope the police department continues to do there job by finding out who that was. Because the person who will let someone else go down for them, thats who we need to look out for.
  • by no Location: tn on Sep 26, 2007 at 11:15 AM
    my heart also goes out to Taylor's family.
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