Suspect in Weld County kidnappings, murders found dead in Thornton apartment

THORNTON, Colo. - A  man involved in a Thornton standoff was found dead early Saturday.  He is believed to be the suspect in the murders of two Weld County women on Friday.

Police said the discovery was made about about 12:30 a.m., after the SWAT team deployed tear gas and then entered the apartment where the suspect had been holed up for hours.  The body is believed to be that of Cimmeron Johns.

The Weld County Sheriff's Office said the two bodies found earlier Friday are definitively connected to the kidnapping of a woman and her adult daughter on Thursday night.

The Weld County Sheriff's Office had asked the public to be on the lookout Thursday for a 1991 Ford Explorer that belonged to one of the two kidnapped women who were murdered.  It was believed to have been stolen by Cimmeron Johns, the suspect in the double murders. The vehicle was found abandoned along Ura Lane in Thornton Friday evening and soon after police set up a perimeter around a nearby apartment building.

"Thornton Police officers encountered a person believed to be Johns at an apartment complex located in the area of 103rd Avenue and Irma Street after Weld County Sheriff’s Deputies located the Ford Explorer," a statement from the sheriff's office said on Friday night.

Thornton police said shots were fired by the suspect and officers had returned fire during the ensuing standoff.

The Adams County Coroner's Office was at the apartment Saturday morning to remove the body from the apartment.

Weld County Deputies said the two bodies in Weld County south of Dacono were identified as kidnap victims: Alisha Johns, 36, and her mother Sherri Pachello, 56.

One body was found in Weld County near County Roads 17 and 4. The crime scene is located south of Dacono, near Big Dry Creek.

The second body was located about a mile away, along County Roads 15 and 4, the coroner and Sheriff's Office both confirmed.

The kidnapping case began to develop Friday morning, when the Weld County Sheriff's Office released information about a call received Thursday night. Sherri Pachello, called her husband at 10 p.m and said she was being chased by a dark-colored car, they said.

Pachello had gone to her daughter's home in Frederick to pick up her daughter, Alisha Johns. Deputies said Johns had been visiting her estranged husband, Cimmeron Johns.

"Initial information indicates that Alisha and Cimmeron Johns had a recent history of domestic violence encounters," deputies said.


--Wife said husband beat, choked her over affair--

On Jan. 24, Alisha Johns told Frederick police that her husband had choked and punched her for two days after he learned she was cheating on him, according to an affidavit for Cimmeron Johns' arrest. The 36-year-old wife said she had lost consciousness twice during the attacks.

Officers interviewed the battered woman at a Frederick medical clinic. Both of Alisha Johns' eyes were bruised, the whites of her eyes were "completely filled with blood" and there was bruising on her neck, an officer wrote in the affidavit.

Alisha Johns told clinic staff the names of her children. She told police that had gone to stay with her mother after the attacks.

However, Alisha Johns also told police she did not want to press charges against her husband, and she left the clinic, the affidavit said.

A doctor signed a police form stating that Alisha's injuries, which included "head, face and neck trauma consistent with blunt trauma and traumatic choking," met the legal standard for serious bodily injury.

Frederick police obtained an arrest warrant charging Cimmeron Johns with felony assault causing serious bodily injury on Jan. 28. But the husband was not arrested before the kidnappings occurred on Thursday night.

On Saturday, Frederick police said they had been trying to arrest Johns for the past two weeks for the assault. They were going by his home daily and asking neighbors to call them if they saw him in the neighborhood. They said they were going to move forward on the assault without the victim's cooperation because it was so severe. 

Witnesses told deputies they saw a vehicle speeding away from Johns' home. It was being chased by a black Mercedes commonly driven by Cimmeron Johns, deputies said.

The Mercedes was found abandoned near Frederick, but Pachello's Ford was missing until it was found Friday evening in Thornton and the standoff began at a nearby apartment.

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