Johnnie Wilson Murder: Where Are Joey Brown and Reggie Chatman Now?

Investigation Discovery’s ‘Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda: Down for the Count’ chronicles how talented young amateur boxer Johnnie Wilson was murdered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in March 1988. The body was disposed of in a wooded area miles from the city, and the police had to apply lots of effort before they could even find the victim’s identity.

How Did Johnnie Wilson Die?

Douglas Wagner was out in the woods near Woodmoor, around 15 miles north of Colorado Springs in El Paso County, Colorado, on March 26, 1988. The region has a pleasant climate at that time of the year, and the resident was enjoying the sunny weather as he walked through the remote woods. It was around 11:30 PM when he smelled something funny and followed it to a bushy covering. He noticed a dead body buried under the leaves and immediately ran away to call the police.

According to police sources, the victim was a black male in his mid-20s with a muscular build, indicating he was an athlete. His hands and feet were bound with shoelaces, though not very tightly. The officers noticed drag marks near the body, signifying he was transported to the disposal site in an automobile and was dead when dumped there. He was beaten severely about the face, with blood coming out of the nose. Moreover, there was a gag in his mouth made of material from some type of jacket. The coroner stated the cause of death as manual strangulation.

The dead body was later identified to belong to John “Johnnie” Bernard Wilson, who stayed in Denver with his mother. The officers delivered the tragic news to the grieving woman who had recently filed a missing person report with the authorities. She described her son as a talented amateur boxer who started boxing when he was 15. The talented Johnnie won the heavyweight golden gloves championship in Nevada when he was 18 and aspired to become a professional boxer someday.

Who Killed Johnnie Wilson?

When the authorities found the victim’s body, it had no documents or identification. The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office reached out to Colorado Springs police for help in identifying the victim. The officers sifted through all missing person reports filed last month and found nothing that matched him. They asked help from KKTV, a CBS news affiliate, and Crime Stoppers, an organization within the city and the county that maintains informant files for individuals who call the police and report intelligence information they gathered from the streets.

Within a couple of days, the police department was filled with tips, and the detectives found one of them credible. The woman was called in and identified the victim as “Doc,” — a low-end drug dealer from New York. He reportedly came to Colorado Springs recently and was a street-level drug dealer dealing heroin. The woman stated two drug suppliers related to the Panamanian cartel had been looking for him, and the scary-looking men were talking about how they “took care of Doc” a few days back. However, the tipster called a few days later and told the officers she was mistaken, and Doc called her yesterday to notify him that he was fine.

Meanwhile, the FBI ran the victim’s prints through the national database and got a hit. They belonged to Johnnie, and the officers went to his mother’s address in the system. The grieving woman told the officers how her son’s promising boxing career ended when he was accidentally shot while breaking a fight while working as a bouncer in a Nevada club. The doctors could not remove the bullet, which remained in the chest, limiting his breathing ability, and he had to quit boxing.

Johnnie’s mother also told the officers how he took to drugs, so they moved to Denver to make him move away from his circle. He stayed clean in Denver until he met one of his old boxing coaches in Colorado Springs, who helped him train and rekindled his dream of resuming his career. Yet, Johnnie’s mother found out her son was retaking drugs lately, which was the last time she saw him. The police were processing the information when a breakthrough came as a tip on the Crime Stoppers hotline.

A woman named Lynn Chatman came forward and notified the detectives her husband, Reggie Chatman, and one of his accomplices might have been involved in the murder. She stated she, Reggie, and their young daughter were staying in a motel as they were going through a financial crisis. Lynn alleged she saw her husband and his accomplice fight with Johnnie one night inside their motel room. She and her daughter hid in the back bedroom, and she came out sometime after to see Reggie and the other man disposing of Johnnie in a maroon car.

The police went to the motel to arrest Reggie, but he had already checked out hours earlier. The officers had to search a dumpsite to look for his room’s bloody carpet and found it in a nearby dump. The blood on the carpet matched Johnnie’s, and the detectives were confident they were after the right man. Another anonymous tip helped them find Reggie’s accomplice, Joey Jerome Brown, and Lynn and her daughter also identified him. The officers found he drove a similar maroon vehicle, and there was evidence inside it to link him to the murder.

Joey Brown and Reggie Chatman Are Out of Jail Today

During questioning, Joey told the officers he and Reggie had scraped together $100 and gave it to Johnnie to score drugs for them. However, he alleged the spring boxer stole the money, which made Reggie extremely angry. On the night of the murder, Reggie was shouting and beating Johnnie when Lynn walked in and asked them to keep the voices low. But Johnnie allegedly insulted her, and Reggie lost his mind and strangled him to death.

Afterward, they used Joey’s car to dispose of the body in a remote wooded area. Joey pled guilty to one count of first-degree assault and one count of accessory to the crime and was sentenced to 4 years. Reggie Chatman was found guilty of second-degree murder and was sentenced to 8 years. Both men had served their prison time and had been released.

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