An Australian man has pleaded guilty to murdering an American mathematician who fell off a hill in Sydney in 1988 for hate crime against gay, which was then dismissed by police as suicide.
Scott Johnson, 27, born in Los Angeles, was murdered and his naked body was found on December 8, 1988, at the base of Northhead Cliff. During a pre-trial hearing in Sydney on Monday, White repeatedly shouted in court that he had pleaded not guilty.
A New South Wales Supreme Court judge on Thursday dismissed White House lawyers’ objections and accepted the defendant’s plea. White will be sentenced on May 2.
He faces up to life in prison.
Police initially concluded that Johnson, a doctoral student at the Australian National University and living in Canberra, had committed suicide. This was despite the discovery that his purse was missing from his clothes, which was neatly folded near the top of the rock.
A Coronal Inquiry – a court-like action after an unusual death – ruled in 1989 that an outright gay man had committed suicide, while another Coroner in 2012 could not explain why. How did death happen
Johnson’s family sought a third inquiry, and state coroner Michael Barnes ruled in 2017 that Johnson “fell off a cliff as a result of actual or intimidating violence from unknown individuals who attacked him because he killed him.” I thought they were gay. “
Barnes found that gangs of men roamed around Sydney in search of gay men, killing some of the victims. Some people were also robbed.
New South Wales Police White said in 2020 that White’s arrest provided hope that other cold murder cases could still be solved – notably the four deaths that have long been considered homosexuality crimes.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Tony Crandall said: “I am very, very hopeful that such results will resonate in the community and we can find out more – we need that, we have more to follow up on these cases. Information is needed, “said Assistant Commissioner of Police Tony Crandall.
A new police investigation offered a انعام 1 million (US 73 731,000) reward for information leading to 2018, and Johnson’s older brother, Boston-based IT entrepreneur Steve Johnson, offered a reward in 2020.
“I think they deserve what they have to him,” Steve Johnson told reporters outside the courtroom after White’s confession.
“It’s a very sad, tragic thing he did,” Johnson said.
Steve Johnson campaigned for decades to re-investigate the case. He told the BBC In 2018, it was “incomprehensible” that her brother had jumped off a mountain.
White was arrested at his Sydney home two months after the reward was doubled. Police said at the time that the reward had helped them progress and that an unknown informant would be eligible for the reward once White was found guilty.