Steve Rogers

About Steve Rogers

Assistant News Director/Assignment Editor; degree in finance and administration from Yale University; 35 years experience in journalism.

Video: Apparent Double-Murder, Suicide Claims Prominent Pickens Residents

By Stephanie Taylor/The Tuscaloosa News

CARROLLTON, Ala. — Police are investigating what appears to be a double murder-suicide in Pickens County.

The victims include well-known Carrollton resident Dora Johnson and her daughter. A family member discovered Johnson, 82, her daughter Patricia Hudson, 63, and her son John Virgil Johnson, 53, dead at her home just after midnight Friday.

Johnson, was best known for her efforts to preserve and promote the Pickens County courthouse and its history.

“At this point, the initial investigation is consistent with murder-suicide,” 24th Judicial Task Force Investigator Keith “Booty” Cox said Friday morning. “There’s evidence that Mr. (John) Johnson died from what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.”

Cox said he will comment on the women’s cause of death after an autopsy is completed.

Johnson and her son lived together at their home on Cox Street, and Hudson, who had visited Thursday, lived in Millport. A family member concerned after not hearing from anyone went to the home around midnight, Cox said.

“Things did not look right upon initial entry, so the family came into town to get the local police,” he said. “Carrollton Police and Chief Anthony Durrah responded, and upon entry to the residence discovered three bodies.”

Dora Johnson was a Pickens County native who worked in the county’s school system but spent most of her career as director of the Carrollton Housing Authority. She was involved in several civic organizations.

As president of the Pickens County Courthouse Foundation, she worked to promote the historic building’s restoration. Members of the Pickens County judicial system recently honored her service by naming the courtroom the Dora Johnson Courtroom. She served three terms in the Alabama Silver-Haired Legislature.

“It’s a tragic situation, especially here in a small town where everyone knows everyone and you’re not used to this type of thing happening,” Cox said.