By Kimberly Miller
Arizona Daily Wildcat
The Pima County Attorney's office intends to seek the death penalty against the alleged murderer of UA music Professor Roy A. Johnson if he is convicted.
Beau John Greene, 28, of a general delivery address, stands accused of first-degree murder in the death of Johnson, whose bludgeoned body was found March 4 by a Department of Public Safety helicopter crew four days after he was reported missing by his wife, Stardust Johnson.
In an April 4 letter to the court, Pima County Prosecutor Rick Unklesbay declared he plans to pursue the death penalty for Greene if he is convicted of Johnson's murder.
Greene was out of jail on a $1,100 bond when Johnson, 58, was murdered. The bond stemmed from a grand jury indictment in December on charges of grand theft auto, weapons misconduct and burglary. He will appear in court on those charges May 16.
Greene pled not guilty to first-degree murder charges in February and a pre-trial conference is set for May 2 before Pima County Superior Court Judge William Tinney. He is being held at the Pima County Jail on $1 million bond.
Police Sgt. Michael O'Connor, of the Pima County Sheriff's Department, said two of Greene's friends, who live near the area of West Ajo Way and South Sandario Road where Johnson's body was found in a wash, testified at a preliminary hearing that Greene told them he killed Johnson.
"That's how we initially linked Greene with Johnson," O'Connor said. "He went to some friends' house and said he killed someone."
But Greene's attorney, David Darby, said things about the case reported in the media may not be exactly what happened.
"The official story that has been presented in the television and print media may not be what comes out in court," Darby said.
Darby said he believes the case is under closer scrutiny by the Pima County Attorney because of Johnson's position in the community.
"Without a doubt this case is under closer scrutiny," Darby said. "The Pima County Attorney's Office has a heightened sense of awareness because of who Johnson was. If a scumbag kills a scumbag, nobody cares, but if a scumbag kills an influential person, the Pima County Attorney has more pressure put on them."
Greene also faces felony counts of kidnapping with intent to kill, robbery, theft by control and six counts of forgery in connection with Johnson's murder.
O'Connor said Greene left a trail of receipts from Johnson's credit cards at various department and speciality stores in Green Valley and the Tucson area. He said Greene mostly bought camping equipment and food which was found
in his possession.
Police believe Johnson was abducted while driving home to Tucson after a concert at a Green Valley church. He may have stopped to aid a woman who, witnesses said, was flagging down northbound motorists on Interstate 19.
O'Connor said police have not made a connection between Greene and the woman and have made no other arrests in the case.
Johnson, who worked at the university for 29 years, taught music theory and organ. He also played the organ for his church for 14 years and had several of his works published in musical magazines.
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