Suspect in decades-old Columbia murder case arrested in Georgia

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 | 10:54 a.m. CDT; updated 9:08 a.m. CDT, Friday, October 2, 2009

COLUMBIA — The suspect in a 1976 Columbia murder case was arrested last Wednesday in Georgia after his name came up on a criminal background check he completed for a job application.

Johnny Wright, 65, was arrested on Sept. 23 by the police department in Lawrenceville, Ga., on a 1985 warrant for second-degree murder in the death of 23-year-old Rebecca A. Doisy.

Doisy was reported missing by her sister on Aug. 7, 1976. Columbia police investigated the case for nine years before gathering enough evidence to obtain a warrant for Wright.

Authorities did not know where Wright was until last week.

Earlier this month, Wright applied for a driving job with a company that required a criminal history background check, Capt. Greg Vaughn of the Lawrenceville Police Department said. When his background check was processed through the Georgia Crime Information Center, Lawrenceville police received a “hit response” that he was wanted on a warrant.

Authorities in Georgia confirmed the warrant information with local authorities and were able to positively identify Wright by a scar on his right wrist. When Wright went to the Lawrenceville Police Department to pay for the background check, police arrested him in the lobby without incident, Vaughn said. They notified Columbia police of the arrest on Monday.

Wright’s address listed on the Georgia-issued photo identification he used to apply for the job is in Lawrenceville, but Vaughn could not say how long Wright had been living there. They did not interview Wright.

Wright is being held in Georgia on $100,000 bond and is awaiting extradition to Missouri.

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