Colorado Springs Walgreens homicide case: Lawyers withdraw motion as trial nears


Attorneys on Friday morning withdrew a motion to have DNA evidence suppressed at the trial of Joshua Johnson, the man accused of killing 17-year-old co-worker Riley Whitelaw at a Colorado Springs Walgreens last year. 

Initially, Johnson’s defense attorneys had filed a motion to suppress DNA evidence collected by law enforcement, but on Friday they informed Judge Eric Bentley they would be withdrawing that motion. 

Defense attorney Deana O’Reily said the motion was withdrawn because she understood the prosecution didn’t intend to enter testimony about the DNA evidence they had wished to suppress. O’Reily did not comment on the nature of the DNA evidence. 

Prosecuting attorney Anthony Gioia also raised a second DNA-related issue with the court, informing Bentley that they are still waiting on some DNA evidence to be analyzed at a federal lab.

Gioia told the court that the prosecution submitted finger nail and buccal swabs to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation for analysis in January, and that results are still pending. Gioia stated he was confident that analysis from the CBI would be ready prior to trial, but potentially only shortly before.   

Both Gioia and O’Reily stated they did not believe this would impact the start of Johnson’s trial, and both indicated they are still ready to proceed with Johnson’s May 8 trial date. 

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Johnson, 28, allegedly killed Whitelaw in the breakroom of the store at 6820 Centennial Blvd., in June 2022. At Johnson’s preliminary hearing in September Colorado Springs police testified that Whitelaw told friends, family and co-workers that Johnson had a romantic interest in her that made her feel uncomfortable. 

Detectives at the hearing testified that Whitelaw had made complaints to her manager at Walgreens about Johnson more than a year before her death, saying he was making “advances towards her” that made Whitelaw uncomfortable.

Several weeks before her death, Whitelaw had requested different hours so she would no longer have to work with Johnson, according to police. However, when Whitelaw asked for additional hours, she was told it would require her to work with Johnson.

Attorneys representing Johnson will return to court next week on Friday, March 24, for a review hearing where they will discuss a subpoena that was filed for a Walgreens representative to appear in court. 

Johnson has pleaded not guilty to the charge of first-degree murder and remains in custody at the El Paso County jail on a no-bond hold. If found guilty of first-degree murder Johnson will be given a mandatory sentence of life in prison.