Details emerge in killings of prominent Oak Park attorney couple

Months after a husband and wife were found dead inside their Oak Park home, new details have become known about the slayings. Both spouses were prominent Chicago-area attorneys.

Autopsy reports recently released by the Cook County medical examiner’s office shed light on how the bodies were discovered and the extent of the stabbings. The killings have not yet been solved.

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According to a police report included in the file, family members of Thomas E. Johnson, 69, and Leslie Ann Jones, 67, wanted to check on them after not hearing from the couple for about four days.

On April 13, the family members, who do not live in the area, asked Jones and Johnson’s 20-year-old godson, who does live in the area, to visit their home in the 500 block of Fair Oaks Avenue for a well-being check, the report said. The godson found the front door closed, but unlocked, and he went inside at about 7:30 p.m.

Just inside the front door, the godson discovered Jones’ body lying on the stairs, while Johnson was found in an upstairs bedroom laying on a bed, the report said.

Friends and neighbors gather in the 500 block of Fair Oaks Avenue in Oak Park for a vigil for Thomas E. Johnson and Leslie Ann Jones on April 15. The couple was found dead two days earlier after a wellbeing check at their home. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)

The godson called Oak Park police, and paramedics rushed to the home. A doctor from Loyola University Medical Center pronounced the couple dead at 7:47 p.m.

An Oak Park police detective wrote that night in the documents that he had “limited information” regarding Jones and Johnson because forensic technicians were still processing the scene and speaking with family members when the report was filed.

The detective did report the home did not appear to be ransacked, and said Johnson’s wallet was found on the bedroom floor with its contents scattered.

First responders also located the couple’s dog alive in the home, and paw prints from the dog and footprints from a person were “visible in the residence,” the report said.

The report states Johnson was stabbed multiple times in the head, neck and shoulder area, while Jones was stabbed multiple times in the head, chest, shoulder and arms. The medical examiner ruled the cause of death for both as “multiple sharp force injuries,” ruling both deaths homicides.

The couple were both graduates of Harvard Law School, and were partners in the downtown law firm of Johnson, Jones, Snelling, Gilbert & Davis. Jones, who also had degrees from Yale, the University of Chicago and Northwestern, specialized in health care, civil rights and real estate law, while Johnson worked on issues of social justice and corporate accountability, litigating cases all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Johnson was particularly well-known for his work as a hearing officer for the Chicago Police Board. Last year, he oversaw the hearings for four officers accused of covering up the investigation into the 2014 Laquan McDonald shooting. He presided over the hearing of an officer who shot and killed 55-year-old Bettie Jones and 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier during a confrontation with LeGrier in 2016.

Johnson also used to watch over young people from single-parent homes who were part of wrestling and baseball programs in the Chicago area.

Jones was also known for her charitable efforts, particularly with the Oak Park Area Arts Council and Hephzibah Children’s Association.

This report may be updated if additional information becomes available.

Chicago Tribune reporter Madeline Buckley contributed to this story.

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