Murder of Kristi Johnson by Victor Paleologus investigated on The Real Murders of Los Angeles

Kristi Johnson profile pic
Kristi Johnson had dreams of being a Hollywood actor. Pic credit: Family pic

The Real Murders of Los Angeles is examining the murder of Kristi Johnson, an aspiring model and actress who was lured to her death with the promise of an acting job by Victor Paleologus.

The 21-year-old Kristi had moved from her native Michigan to southern California, hoping to strike it big in the entertainment industry. In February 2003, she was working for a cellphone distribution company.

But she thought her luck had changed when she met a Hollywood executive at the Century City mall, who promised her an audition for a James Bond movie.

Kristi was last seen alive on February 15 when she excitedly told her roommate she was going to a photo shoot for a James Bond movie.

Unfortunately, the so-called Hollywood executive was actually a twisted killer, Victor Paleologus, and he had a history of violent crime against women. He had also regularly used this tactic of promising acting work to young women before he sexually assaulted them.

Kristi’s remains were found by hikers about a month later in the Hollywood Hills. She had been strangled.

Women came forward to warn cops about Victor Paleologus in Kristi Johnson murder case

The cops were alerted to Paleologus after a woman came forward claiming he’d tried to lure her with an offer of modeling work.

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Paleologus was convicted in 1998 of assault to commit rape after he attacked a woman in Brentwood. He had also been convicted of grand theft and burglary.

The violent thug had served time in prison but was paroled on January 20, 2003, less than a month before he killed Kristi.

Five women came forward to testify against Paleologus, claiming he told them they could earn between $100,000 and $200,000 in a film starring Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan. He told each of the women to attend a photoshoot wearing a men’s white dress shirt, high heel black stiletto pumps, nylons, and a short, black mini skirt.

Thankfully, the women became suspicious and didn’t attend the fake photoshoot.

Composite sketch of Victor Paleologus
The cops released a composite sketch of the suspected killer during the investigation. Pic credit: Santa Monica PD

The police also uncovered evidence that on the day Kristi disappeared, a call had been made from Paleologus’s cell phone in the area where her remains were later found.

Victor Paleologus agreed to plead guilty to Kristi Johnson killing

The killer was three weeks into his trial when he agreed a deal with the prosecution. He accepted responsibility for Kristi’s murder and received a sentence of 25 years to life. He had otherwise been facing the death penalty.

After sentencing, prosecutor David Walgren said, “We wanted the guy off the street, and we wanted him to admit murdering her, which is what he did. We’re thrilled.”

Kristi’s father, Kirk Johnson, told the press, “I’m not going to live the rest of my life in anger. I’m substituting the anger with sadness over Kristi.”

The Real Murders of Los Angeles airs Fridays at 9/8c on Oxygen.

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