Roy Johnson Murder: What Happened to Audrey Diaz?

Image Credit: Lorinda Quayle/Find A Grave

Investigation Discovery’s ‘Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda: Shattered’ follows the gruesome murder of 22-year-old Roy Johnson in Colorado Springs in May 1978. The investigators were involved in a lot of old-fashioned policework that ultimately led them to the perpetrator involved in the homicide. If you’re interested in knowing more about the case and the killer’s identity, we’ve you covered.

How Did Roy Johnson Die?

According to the show, television advertisement saleswoman Janice Smithson was on her way home on May 24, 1978, at around 1:45 AM in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She saw two teenage boys on North Chestnut Street asking her to stop and help them. Janice learned from the teenagers that they had found a body lying on the road. Upon witnessing the corpse herself, she asked them to stay put and drove to the police cruiser she saw parked down the street.

Since Janice could not find any officers near the car, she radioed the news to dispatch, identifying as an ex-police officer. The investigators arrived at the scene to find the body lying twisted on the curb with hair soaked and face covered in blood. There was automotive glass in the middle of the road, indicating the unidentified individual might have been a victim of an unfortunate hit-and-run case involving a pedestrian. They noticed one of the legs was unusually angled and raised the cuff of the jeans to see it was a prosthetic leg.

The detectives found a wallet, and the victim was identified as 22-year-old Roy Don Johnson, born on June 27, 1955. He had a fine job at a tech company. Local News Reporter Ann Ervin noted the victim had a prosthetic leg since he was five because of a congenital disability. His roommate, Dennis Rodine, said, “Roy liked to ski, and he had got involved with a ski group in Loveland, Colorado, for the disabled. He was a kindhearted guy.” However, the officers soon noticed Roy had three bullet wounds to the head, making it a homicide case.

Who Killed Roy Johnson?

Upon locating Roy’s wallet, the investigators found it odd since it had no cash. In those days preceding ATMs, it was not typical, and the officers decided to interview the teenage boys who made the grizzly discovery. The teenagers, Noah Peters and Brian, told them how they found the body while returning home after watching a horror movie. They claimed they thought it to be a dummy at first. Albeit, the officers, felt something was not right and told them they could be charged with an accessory after the fact of this murder if they were not telling the whole truth.

According to the show, the boys returned the cash they had stolen from the victim’s wallet, and the money was handed over to the CSI. Meanwhile, the investigators found Roy’s automobile around 50 yards from the scene, with the driver’s door side window blown out and blood in the driver’s compartment. They deduced the shootout had taken place inside the vehicle. Regarding the empty police cruiser, the authorities discovered the officers had been called to a house down the street on a domestic disturbance complaint.

The investigators headed to the 4348 N. Chestnut Street apartment to find it belonged to a couple, Audrey Diaz, then 23, and her partner, Harry Wright. They learned neighbors had reported hearing a gunshot inside the residence and found no one was injured. Soon, they located the five-shot capacity gun in the kitchen, with the weapon having four expended .38-caliber casings. They brought Harry in for questioning, and he claimed he did not abuse Audrey nor was involved in any shooting incident.

Harry stated he was in bed at home alone when he heard a window crashing in at 1:15 AM and went downstairs to find Audrey standing with a gun and firing a shot into the wall. The investigators went to Roy’s 1501 W. Cucharras Street to meet one of his roommates, Richard Lin. He shared that he and the victim had gone to the Candlelight Inn that night to have drinks. With a solid lead, the police headed to the establishment and were lucky enough to find the bartender even though it was late.

Upon interviewing the bartender, the investigators were shocked to learn Roy was at the bar last night and with Audrey. He further told the officers they were drinking together and seemingly had a good time. According to the show, the employee alleged Audrey had been a victim of abuse and violence, which might have rendered her a little unstable. The episode showed how she had been involved in violent incidents in the past with men who overstepped their boundaries or tried to harass her.

The episode noted the bartender told the law enforcement officials how Audrey had allegedly told her she might even kill the next man who tried to harass her. With ample circumstantial evidence, the investigators interrogated her, who maintained she had fired the shots at an unknown assailant trying to break into her house. When the officers proved the bullet mark inside her home was fired from her gun, Audrey stopped cooperating and lawyered up. Eventually, she was arrested and charged with the first-degree murder of Roy.

Audrey Diaz Was Sentenced to Four Year Jail Time

Audrey maintained Roy tried to attack her in the car after driving her to her doorstep, and she was allegedly forced to shoot him in self-defense. However, the prosecution and his friends found it improbable that he could assault her in his car. On June 15, 1978, a grand jury sided with Audrey, then 23, and returned a second-degree murder indictment.

Audrey’s bond was set at $50,000; she was eventually convicted of reckless manslaughter and was sentenced to four years in prison. No present address is provided for her, who might be in her late 60s now if alive, in public records.

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