1996 Greene Co. Murder Suspect Arrested Multiple Times in Chicago

Authorities say Illinois police repeatedly arrested a fugitive wanted for murder before investigators linked him to a 1996 slaying in Alabama.

Officials in Alabama say it took decades for anyone to realize that 54-year-old construction worker Phillip Thomas of Chicago actually was 44-year-old jail escapee Donnovan Johnson of Boligee, Alabama.

Johnson escaped in 1998 while awaiting trial in a killing, and records show he went to prison in 2001 in Illinois. Alabama investigator Jeremy Rancher says police there failed to realize the man was wanted for murder because he was using stolen identification.

Rancher says photos and old fingerprints were used to finally reveal Johnson’s identity.

Johnson is charged in the 1996 slaying of Ollie Carpenter in Greene County, Alabama. He was arrested last week on a tip.

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