Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

September 26, 2019
In 1969, trial begins for man accused of murder

The Tooele Transcript Bulletin has published Tooele County news since 1894. Here is a flashback of local front-page news from 25, 50, 75 and 100 years ago that occurred during the fourth week of September.

Sept. 27-29, 1994

In response to allegations made by a former safety manager at the Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility, the U.S. Army planned to conduct a full-scale safety inspection of the Rush Valley plant.

An Army safety team planned a thorough investigation of the allegations of unsafe conditions made by Steve Jones, former safety manager for EG&G Defense Materials, Inc.

Jones said he was fired because he refused to ignore several safety and environmental problems that exist at the plant.

Later in the week, officials from a state committee listened as a safety expert explained a long list of reasons why the Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility was unsafe to area citizens and plant workers.

Jones presented his allegations to the Chemical Demilitarization Citizens Advisory Committee, a committee set up to advise Gov. Mike Leavitt on the demilitarization process.

Jones said the plant cannot support the incineration process because of design flaws and other safety related problems.

Sept. 23-26, 1969

The trial of Douglas Johnson, 33, Richmond, Kentucky, opened in Tooele on Sept. 23, 1969.

A jury was selected to hear the first-degree murder trial. Johnson was charged in connection with the shooting of his estranged wife, Gwendolyn Johnson, 24, in March.

The woman was killed on Tooele’s Main Street just shortly after 12 p.m. on March 25.

Douglas Johnson was arrested that same afternoon, and after being formally charged, was held at the Salt Lake County Jail while awaiting trial.

Friday’s front page also featured details of a public hearing in Grantsville on a proposed highway to be built from Timpie to the site of the planned National Lead Company Magnesium Plant.

About 30 people attended the event conducted by Tooele County Commissioner George Buzianis. The road would run for about 13 miles from Timpie to the plant. 

The greatest concern about the road was expressed by stockmen who requested fencing of rights of way on both the highway and a proposed railroad to be built by Western Pacific.

Sept. 26-29, 1944

Eight juveniles were taken into custody by Sheriff Alma White and his deputies at a public dance at TOD Park on charges of violating the smoking and drinking statutes of the State of Utah.

The youths were to be turned over to Juvenile Court on charges of use of liquor and tobacco. An effort was afoot to determine the source of supply.

Announced determination of Sheriff White to enforce the statutes came as the result of the growing use of liquor and tobacco among children, and some with the knowledge and sanction of parents.

Later in the week, only .15 of an inch of moisture had fallen in Tooele since June 23, marking the longest dry spell on local weather records. Yet the weather year was set to end on Sept. 30 with a total of 18.20 inches of moisture, more than 2 inches greater than normal, according to Amos Bevan, local weather observer.

Sept. 26, 1919

John Borich confessed that he was the so-called “John Green” who was implicated in the murder of Velma Atkins the previous week. He said he was solely responsible for the murder of Atkins.

The previous week, a John Malich had been charged with the murder

After making the confession, Borich led the sheriff east of Tooele to a field and dug from the ground the life insurance and other papers he buried immediately after he committed the murder. 

The insurance policy amounted to $4,000 made out in the name of Velma Green with John Green named as the beneficiary.

Correspondent Mark Watson compiled this report.

Mark Watson

Sports Editor at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Mark directs all editorial coverage of sports in addition to reporting on a wide range of events from high school football to international racing. He has a wealth of journalism experience, having worked for four other newspapers in the state. Mark grew up in Tooele County and graduated from Grantsville High School and Brigham Young University.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>