Daughter relieved after arrest in mother's murder decades ago - WKRN News 2

Daughter relieved after arrest in mother's murder decades ago

Posted:
Norma said she is relieved her mother's killer is behind bars. Norma said she is relieved her mother's killer is behind bars.
Ethel Hethcote was found strangled inside her home more than 33 years ago. Ethel Hethcote was found strangled inside her home more than 33 years ago.
Metro police arrested Freddie Lee Johnson on a charge of first degree murder Monday. Metro police arrested Freddie Lee Johnson on a charge of first degree murder Monday.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

The daughter of an elderly woman strangled inside her home more than 33 years ago feels relief the man police say killed her mother is now behind bars.

Metro police arrested Freddie Lee Johnson on a charge of first degree murder Monday.  A Davidson County grand jury indicted the 60-year-old last Friday.

"All those years you spend not knowing," Ethel Hethcote's daughter Norma said. "It is just something unfinished and now maybe we can have closure."

Hethcote's daughter asked Nashville's News 2 not to use her last name.  Norma's surviving family members worry that Johnson may be affiliated with people who could do them harm.

"I just hope he doesn't get out and do this to anyone else," Norma said.  "I don't know why anyone can do so many things wrong you know."

According to police, Johnson has a lengthy criminal history in Tennessee and Mississippi.

In Mississippi, he was convicted of rape in 1979.  He is a registered sex offender as a result.

In Nashville, he has been charged with more than 50 crimes. He has multiple convictions for theft, robbery, burglary, criminal trespassing, unlawful weapon possession and motor vehicle burglary.

Detectives with Metro's cold case unit were able to find new evidence to link Johnson to Hethcote's 1979 murder.

According to Norma, her mother hired a company Johnson worked for to install insulation inside her Hermitage home.

"Mother was really friendly toward him she fed him and gave him coffee," she said. "She thought everybody had some good in them you know."

On January 29, 1979, police said Johnson strangled Hethcote inside her home. Norma's sister found her mother's body. There was money and other items missing from the residence.

"I don't understand," Norma said. "She didn't have money or any of that to give him. What he took out of her purse that morning was $9."

Hethcote's home in Hermitage was her first house. She had bought the house shortly after her husband died in a work related accident.

"She was very happy in that house," Norma said. "She grew roses she had all the roses named they were absolutely gorgeous."

Norma worried that her mother's killer may not ever be found. With Johnson's arrest she feels a sense of closure.

"I'll tell you I do not know how anyone can go through something like this without the lord on their side," she said. "Of course we have prayed all these years that it would come to this and finally it has."

Johnson is being held in jail in lieu of $500,000 bond.  He is scheduled for arraignment on February 22.

Previous Story:

Powered by WorldNow

441 Murfreesboro Road Nashville, TN 37210

Telephone: 615.369.7222
Fax: 615.369.7329
Email: news@wkrn.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Young Broadcasting of Nashville, LLC. A Media General Company.