Arrest Made in Year-Old Murder

By Kate Gaier
6:45 pm January 1, 2007

An arrest has been made in a year-old murder case in Cairo, but the motive is still anyone's guess. Neighbors say Pearl Johnson was a kindhearted woman. Even though she was disabled, she would help anyone, and neighbors fear her friendly attitude may have cost Johnson her life.

It's been almost a year to the day since 64-year-old Johnson was found stabbed to death in her Cairo apartment. Neighbors talk about it like it was just yesterday.

"We just felt like it was someone she knew because she wasn't a, you didn't see strangers just going to her apartment. Mostly everybody we saw go to her apartment was someone that she knew," commented one neighbor.

Seventy-three-year -ld Martin Wheeler has been booked into the Grady County Detention Center, charged in the stabbing death of Pearl Johnson.

Eddie Frost, a neighbor, said, "Everybody said it was somebody she knew, so that's a good thing if they have the right person."

With no signs of forced entry or robbery at the crime scene, investigators believe Wheeler and Johnson were acquaintances, but it is still unclear what sparked the stabbing.

Kenneth Thomas was shocked to hear of Johnson's murder.

"When you hear something like that it's, especially in this town, it's shocking," he said.

But now family and friends can rest a little easier knowing someone has been charged in Johnson's murder.

Frost added, "It's taken awhile, but I'm glad that someone has been arrested and hopefully they got the right person."

Thomas also said, "That's good. It brings closure to the family and it also gets a criminal off the streets."

Investigators have been questioning family, friends, anyone who might have had contact with Johnson for a year. Apparently now they have what they were looking for to charge someone with her murder.