It was back in the fall of 2012 when everything for Jacksonville, Florida, native Sherry Prather’s loved ones shattered apart as she was found dead in arguably one of the worst ways imaginable. This much has actually even been evidenced in Oxygen’s ‘Final Moments: The Man on the Motorcycle,’ which details precisely the way her perpetrator was eventually brought to justice in 2016. So now, if you simply wish to learn more about this case — with a focus on the events to have transpired, their ensuing investigations, as well as the overall aftermath — we’ve got you covered.
How Did Sherry Prather Die?
At the age of 43, Sherry was honestly leading a good life in Duval County as a proud bike enthusiast, daughter, and single mother of two when her soul was snatched away in the blink of an eye. The truth is she’d had more than her fair share of troubles with abusive partners, alcohol addiction, plus drug use over the years, yet she’d still managed to find the right path to sobriety by 30. Therefore, of course, even though this innately wild-spirited woman soon began frequenting local bars alongside a few friends just to hang out, she never picked up a liquor-filled glass again.
Sherry’s loved ones were thus in panic when she failed to return home following one such night out on October 12, 2012, to Boots N Bottles — they had a feeling something horrid must’ve happened. Nevertheless, considering her dark history, it took the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office three days to take this matter seriously and file a formal missing persons report at the behest of her fierce mother. An extensive search for this devoted mother of two hence commenced, only to yield absolutely nothing for a month — in fact, it took a family friend coming forward for even her remains to be found.
It was November 12 when a childhood friend of one of Sherry’s daughters contacted Jacksonville detectives, claiming to have some third-hand information regarding her sudden disappearance. She told officials she’d been residing with her “Uncle Jack” for the past few weeks while trying to find her own place, only to learn he was a Boots N Bottles regular and knew what’d happened. According to her, following a television news special on this case, he’d asserted he’d heard that some biker guy had shot Sherry before discarding her remains along the heavily wooded, rural Braddock Road.
Neither this young woman nor investigators could locate “Uncle Jack” at the time to verify these allegations, yet her statements alone were enough for authorities to send an expert team to the area. That’s where Sherry’s skeletal body was actually found, having been devoured by wild animals — her past medical records, along with the scattered personal items nearby, helped positively identify her. It then took a few weeks, but a forensic anthropologist was able to determine she’d died upon sustaining a gunshot wound to the spine through traces of small circular markings on her vertebrate.
Who Killed Sherry Prather?
With there being no witnesses to have seen Sherry leave Boots N Bottles on the fateful night and the establishment not having any surveillance cameras, detectives initially wet around in circles. But then came the biker guy tip, driving them to look at a few gangs as well as return to the initial crime scene, just to find out a nearby store had cameras pointing toward the bar’s parking lot. Footage from there clearly showed the 43-year-old had walked out to someone standing by a motorcycle, and then she got on it as the passenger — this was the last time she was ever seen or heard from alive.
Unfortunately, this clip was so blurry authorities had no choice but to release it to the public in hopes someone would recognize their prime suspect and do the right thing by giving him up. Though they never expected it to come from a local named Samantha Johnson; she declared this unidentified male was none other than her estranged husband, Johnny Wayne Johnson. In fact, she went as far as to claim he’d confessed to killing Sherry to her before specifying to investigators that he’d told her “he took her to somewhere off Trout River Boulevard and Braddock Road and dropped her off. He said he didn’t have enough time to move the female, so he just dragged her into the woods.”
As if that’s not enough, the ensuing deep dive into Johnny uncovered he’d built a name for himself within the community by intimidating others despite not being a part of any gang — he was feared. Then came his questioning, where he outrightly lied about having dropped Sherry off at someone’s house — he even pointed at this place, but the homeowners had no clue who he or the dead single mother of two was. But alas, because there was no concrete physical evidence against him at the time, he was allowed to walk away as a free man; his ex-wife had gone as far as to wear a wire to get a confession out of him, yet it didn’t pan out, and neither did the intense questioning of his then-girlfriend.
Where is Johnny Johnson Now?
Nevertheless, everything changed in 2016 as another tipster named Mike Carroll came forward, vehemently asserting Johnny had called him on that fateful night to ask for help moving Sherry’s remains. He explained he hadn’t revealed this truth before becasue he was scared for his safety, but he simply couldn’t hold on to it any longer — he’d obviously also refused to provide his assistance back then. Johnny was hence charged with second-degree murder despite his continued denials, only to eventually plead guilty to the same in exchange for a relatively lenient 20½ years behind state bars. Therefore, today, this nearly 5-year-old remains incarcerated at the mixed-security Santa Rosa Correctional Institution in Milton, Florida, where he’s expected to remain until at least June 2035.