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Suspect named in 1985 'Redhead Murder' case

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Posted at 2:03 PM, Dec 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-19 14:13:23-05

(LEX 18) — The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation believes they have identified the killer in a 1985 cold case that could possibly be connected to a string of murders in Tennessee and Kentucky.

Investigators have identified Jerry Leon Johns as the killer of Tina Marie McKenney Farmer in 1985. Farmer was pregnant when she disappeared. Her body was discovered along I-75. Investigators believe she was a victim in the "redhead murder" killing spree.

Six other victims were found dead along major roadways in states including Tennessee and Kentucky in the 1980s. Authorities identified one victim found in Kentucky as Epsy Regina Black-Pilgrim using DNA.

Johns died in prison in 2015. He had formerly been a longhaul trucker who frequently traveled that route.

TBI confirms that Johns was a suspect in the case from the beginning because he was convicted for a similar crime. That victim survived and her testimony resulted in Johns' conviction for kidnapping and assault.

There is no additional evidence that Johns is connected to the other "redhead murders."