COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KXRM) — A preliminary hearing was held Friday for the man accused of killing 17-year-old Riley Whitelaw at her place of work back in June.
On June 11, 2022, 28-year-old Joshua Johnson was arrested on charges of first degree murder after the body of 17-year-old Riley Whitelaw was found in a breakroom at the Walgreens on Centennial Boulevard, where she and Johnson both worked.
At the preliminary hearing on Friday, Sept. 16, a detective testified that Johnson told police he had been attacked by an unknown man. Johnson said the attacker knew where he lived and knew his name.
A detective at Friday’s hearing testified that no one else could have murdered Whitelaw, and without hesitation said that Johnson killed her.
Johnson claimed he ran from the store, drove back to his house where he lived with his mother, then drove out to Walsenburg. According to detectives, Johnson claimed he didn’t tell his mother or police what happened because he was afraid.
According to testimony, Johnson then hid the car under a railroad trestle and walked for miles before being picked up by police, claiming that he got the obvious scratches on his face from the unknown attacker, and from walking through a field.
Detectives laid out a series of events on the night of the murder, saying witnesses claimed Johnson was acting weird that night, stacking boxes higher than company policy and blocking security cameras, as well as asking a fellow coworker, who he never communicated with, to keep an eye on the manager because he didn’t want the manager to get into trouble.
After Johnson left the scene, detectives found his car cleared out and its floor mats were missing. Detectives also found bloody tissues, along with bandages and disposable razors. Detectives said Johnson had tried to cut his hair and had done a “terrible job.”
The manager of the store told detectives that after she didn’t see Whitelaw come back from her break, she called a manager from earlier in the day, who discovered her body in the break room.
Johnson will be back in court next Wednesday, Sept. 21.