Warren cops: Trio charged in murder of Oak Park woman

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Two men and one woman are facing murder charges in the January slaying of a woman whose body was found on a home’s front lawn, Warren Police said.

George Rider.

Detectives continue to investigate the murder of Julii Larrie Johnson, officials said.

But they also said George Rider, 58, of Huntington Woods, and Marcie Griffin, 46, of Eastpointe, were arraigned Thursday on first-degree murder charges in connection with Johnson’s death. The hearing was held in 37th District Court in Warren and a judge ordered them held at the Macomb County Jail without bond.

Rider and Griffin, who are boyfriend and girlfriend, were arrested Thursday, according to police.

The third person charged in the crime, Eric Gibson, 24, of Detroit, is being held in the Wayne County Jail on charges unrelated to Johnson’s murder, officials said.

If convicted of murder, each of the three faces up to life in prison.

Marcie Griffin.

On Jan. 13, 2017, police said they received a 911 call at 7:27 p.m. about a female being possibly shot in the front yard of a residence on Berghway Trail near 13 Mile and Mound.

Officers arrived and found Johnson lying on the home’s lawn with multiple gunshot wounds in her torso and a single gunshot wound on her forehead, according to authorities.

She was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

A witness later told police he saw a person fleeing the scene after gunshots were fired, officials said.

Surveillance video from a nearby business, LA Fitness, led police to search for a dark-colored Nissan Pathfinder SUV that was parked in the gym’s lot during the shooting. It also showed a person get out of the vehicle, walk toward the scene of the shooting and return shortly after.

Police and canine units searched the area and found a pair of work gloves on the path between the gym and where the victim’s body was found. The gloves were sent to the Michigan State Police Crime Lab for DNA analysis.

Two days later, police searched the area again and found a handgun in heavy brush near where the gloves were discovered. Detectives are waiting for ballistics testing to determine whether the gun was used to kill Johnson.

During the investigation, police learned Rider drove the dark-colored SUV to the gym the morning of Johnson’s murder. They also were able to determine Rider and Gibson were in the area of the gym during the shooting.

Detectives also determined Griffin is the ex-girlfriend of Johnson’s boyfriend, Terrell Lattner. “Griffin had expressed hatred towards Johnson and is believed to have enlisted Rider and Gibson in the murder,” officials said in a statement.

On Friday, police received the results of DNA analysis on the gloves. The tests matched a sample of Gibson’s DNA investigators obtained under a court order.

Three days later, the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office authorized a murder warrant for him.

On Wednesday, the office authorized charges against Rider, Griffin and Gibson.