The Latest: Kentucky lawmaker’s wife wants to replace him
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Latest on the death of a Kentucky state lawmaker accused of sexual assault (all times local):
The wife of a Republican lawmaker in Kentucky who killed himself after accusations he sexually assaulted a teenage girl says she will seek to replace him in the state legislature.
Rebecca Johnson made the announcement in a news release sent to The Associated Press. Dan Johnson killed himself Wednesday night. David Adams, a political operative who worked for Dan Johnson, confirmed Rebecca Johnson’s intentions.
In the release, Rebecca Johnson referred to her husband’s death as a “high-tech lynching based on lies and half-truths.”
The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting published a story earlier this week detailing accusations that Johnson sexually assaulted a 17-year-old girl in 2013. Police had investigated the matter but did not file charges. The story prompted police to re-open the investigation.
Dan Johnson had called the accusations “totally false.”
A coroner has ruled the death of a Kentucky lawmaker facing sexual assault allegations as a suicide.
Bullitt County Coroner Dave Billings said Dan Johnson died from a single self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. A neighbor found Johnson’s body near a road in a secluded area of Mount Washington on Wednesday night. An autopsy Thursday morning confirmed it was a suicide.
Johnson was elected to the legislature in 2016 and was pastor of Heart of Fire Church in Louisville. On Monday, the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting published a story detailing allegations that he sexually assaulted a 17-year-old girl in his basement in 2013.
Police investigated in 2013 but filed no charges. The investigation was reopened because of the story. Johnson had called the allegations “totally false.”
An ominous Facebook post from a Kentucky lawmaker facing sexual assault allegations is part of what prompted his family to report him missing to a local sheriff’s department.
Bullitt County Sheriff Donnie Tinnell said Dan Johnson’s wife reported him missing on Wednesday night when she could not reach him after reading a message he posted to Facebook saying “heaven is my home” and asking people to care for his wife.
Tinnell said a neighbor found Johnson’s body near a bridge in Mount Washington. Tinnell said it appears Johnson shot himself.
Authorities recovered .40-caliber pistol by Johnson’s body. Tinnell says authorities have a warrant to search Johnson’s car and are doing various forensic tests.
This version corrects the description of the weapon to .40-caliber.
A Republican lawmaker in Kentucky facing sexual assault allegations has died of an apparent suicide.
Bullitt County Coroner Dave Billings says state Rep. Dan Johnson died from a single gunshot Wednesday night on Greenwell Ford Road in Mount Washington, Kentucky. Billings said Johnson stopped his car at the end of a bridge in a secluded area and got out. Billings says it was “probably suicide.” He said an autopsy is scheduled for Thursday morning.
The 57-year-old Johnson was elected to the state legislature in 2016. On Monday, the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting published an account from a woman saying Johnson sexually assaulted her in the basement of his home in 2013. Louisville police investigated the matter but closed the case and did not file charges.
Johnson told reporters Tuesday the accusations were “totally false.”