Murder in the Heartland is featuring the murders of Lisa Straub and Johnny Clarke by Samuel Williams.
At 10 p.m. on Jan. 31, 2011, Johnny left his friend’s house to pick up his 20-year-old girlfriend, Straub, from her job at TGI Fridays.
He then drove to a house on Longacre Avenue in Holland, Ohio, that belonged to Straubs’ parents.
They were away on a cruise for their anniversary.
According to Tiffany Williams, who was a friend of the couple, they were supposed to pick her and another friend up and bring them back to the house to play pool.
When Tiffany called Johnny, 21, she said she heard him talking to someone, and he sounded angry when he said, “Bro, what are you doing?”
Before he hung up the phone, Tiffany said that Johnny told her that he would call her back, but he never did.
Police believe that an intruder broke into the house while Johnny was on the phone with Tiffany.
Lisa Straub and Johnny Clarke were found bound with duct tape
Several people called Johnny dozens of times, but each call went unanswered. That’s when his mother, Maytee Vazquez Clarke, said she knew something was amiss.
At 1:21 a.m. on Feb. 1, 2011, Maytee called 911 to conduct a welfare check on her son and his girlfriend.
When officers arrived, they searched outside the home but did not force their way in because they didn’t have probable cause.
Nearly an hour after the officers left, Maytee called 911 again.
The officers returned and searched outside the home for 20 minutes, but they were still unable to enter the house.
When the officers left, Johnny’s father, John, kicked in the front door and found Johnny and Straub dead on the kitchen floor.
Their hands and feet were bound with duct tape, and they had tightly wrapped bags over their heads.
An autopsy revealed the couple died of asphyxiation, and they likely died within minutes.
DNA evidence and other clues linked Samuel Williams to the murders
A police officer discovered a cigarette on the floor and thought it was unusual since the ransacked house didn’t have a cigarette smell.
The cigarette was collected as evidence, and when it was tested, the police learned that it was Williams and Cameo Pettaway’s DNA on the cigarette.
They were both arrested and charged with the couple’s murder, but Pettaway’s charges were later dismissed due to a lack of evidence.
Williams was the prime suspect.
Aside from his DNA on the cigarette, investigators said he made incriminating phone calls from jail, gave detectives a false alibi, and allegedly confessed to the murders to his cellmate.
In July 2012, a jury found him guilty of aggravated murder, kidnapping, and aggravated burglary.
Williams claims he is innocent. In an interview, he said, “I had no involvement in this case, and I pray that the families get justice for their family members.”
“And I pray that one day the truth is told and Johnny and Lisa’s killers are put behind bars where they deserve to be.”
A judge sentenced Williams to two life terms in prison with no chance of parole.
Murder in the Heartland airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.