Number of victims: 10+
Date of murders: June - August 1983
Method of murder: Shooting / Stabbing
Convicted on a rape charge in 1970, at the age go just 19, Milton Johnson was sentenced to 25 years in prison. That should have seen him incarcerated until at least 1986, but the authorities saw fit to release him in March, 1983. Johnson responded to their generosity by launching a campaign of terror that would leave at least ten people dead in the space of just two months.
Johnson’s M.O. was particularly savage. He confined his attacks to the weekends, when he had access to a truck. Then he’d drive to one of the small communities surrounding Joliet, Illinois and cruise the streets until he came across a likely victim. He’d then attack with extreme ferocity, raping and robbing the victims before executing them in cold blood, whether they offered resistance or not. The police response was to mobilize every available officer in Will and Cook counties but somehow Johnson always managed to evade them. Two deputies who did manage to run him to ground were ruthlessly gunned down.
Johnson’s campaign of terror eventually came to an end when a woman reported him for harassing her in his truck, tailgating and trying to force her off the road. The woman had written down the license plate number and it was tracked to Johnson’s uncle, who told detectives that he usually allowed his nephew to use it at the weekends. Once in custody, a plethora of evidence - including fibers and fingerprints - tied Johnson to the crime scenes.
Convicted of all counts in September 1984, Johnson was sentenced to death. He currently awaits execution at Joliet, Illinois, close to his many crime scenes.