Diabolical: Jose Najera plotted the murder of his parents with best friend

This week Diabolical spotlights the murder of Najera Sr. and his wife Elena Najera, planned by their only son and carried out by his best friend.

Garden Grove, Cal., on the morning of  Dec. 28, 1999, and 19-year-old Najera phoned the police to say he’d come home to discover his mother and father dead on the floor. When police arrived they found Najera Sr., 42, and Elena Najera, 46, had been stabbed at least 20 times each.

There was no murder weapon at the scene, but they did find a ski-mask that had been left behind by the killer. This proved a vital piece of evidence and it was linked to a high school friend of Najera’s, Gerald Thomas Johnson.

DNA from mask matched Johnson’s and he was arrested a few weeks after the murder. In 2002 at his trial he was found guilty of the murders and sentenced to life without any possibility of parole.

Gerald Thomas Johnson
Gerald Thomas Johnson carried out the savage killings, he committed suicide in 2008

However, the case had a couple of twists before justice was truly served. In 2008 Johnson killed himself whilst in prison and around the same time prosecutors decided to charge Najera with planning the murders.

In 2010 Najera was found guilty of planning the murder of his parents in order to get his hands on their savings. They’d withdrawn their significant savings from the bank over fears of the Y2K bug and transferred them into a safety deposit box, something their son had access to. This led to him plotting the murders with his best friend from high school.

Najera was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole.

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Diabolical – Season 2 – Episode 5 – Best of Friends airs at 10:00 PM on Investigation Discovery. 

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