NC veteran pleads guilty to 1979 killing of newlywed married to fellow Marine

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – A man arrested in connection to a nearly four-decade old cold case has now pled guilty to second-degree murder.

Karen Johnson

Authorities say Roger Pollard killed Karen Johnson in Jacksonville on April 19, 1979. Authorities say Pollard beat and strangled Johnson to death while her husband was deployed overseas. He was in the same Marine unit as her husband.

Pollard was arrested back in May 2016 for the murder of the newlywed Johnston.

Sentencing for Pollard will take place on August 25.

“I don’t understand how another human being could do that,” said her husband at the time, Gary Johnson.

Deputies and NCIS arrested Pollard in Chesapeake, Virginia; where he was living. Investigators say Pollard was their original suspect.


“They had everything they needed except they couldn’t put him in the right place,” said Major Chris Thomas with the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office.

With new evidence, new witnesses, and a grant to cover this cold case investigators say they were finally able to get their man.

Onslow County District Attorney Ernie Lee said, “This was a very difficult and challenging case to say the least that has taken many months of hard work by the District Attorney’s Office, the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the United States Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory.  This case is over 38 years old and obviously there have been challenges in investigating and prosecuting this case.”


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