Suspect in two murders arraigned

Tommy Johnson was arraigned in court today.

Police say a man who killed two women then buried their bodies in a shallow grave behind his home knew both victims.

Thursday afternoon, a judge arraigned Tommy Johnson on two counts of murder.

Officers say in September, 51-year-old Rachel Samuel was at his home, when he choked her to death. Officers say he buried her body near his backyard. Then they say two weeks ago, Johnson stabbed 42-year-old Joretha Lynn Kirk to death after they got into an argument at his home. Investigators say he then dumped her body in a hole behind his home.

Police are investigating to see if Johnson's involved in the disappearance of 35-year-old Janie Mae Dixon. She hasn't been seen since September 8, 2008.

Tommy Johnson is a registered sex offender and his arrest record shows he's no stranger to crime. In fact, he's spent most of his adult life in prison.

Johnson's run-ins with the law began when he was 24-years-old. He went to prison for several crimes including criminal sexual conduct.

Neighbors tell NewsChannel 15 43-year-old Tommy Johnson grew up in this home on Gaillard Street in East Florence.

It's the same home where police arrested him for two counts of murder. His brother, William, says he really didn't know his younger sibling, because he was never around.

"My brother he's been incarcerated like three fourths of his life," William Johnson said.

Johnson served time for numerous misdemeanors and felonies from 1984 to 2007. His arrest record shows he went to prison for criminal sexual conduct, drugs and several burglaries.

In 2005, deputies arrested Johnson for failing to register as a sex offender. He served 90 days and was released but was picked up again in 2006 for a probation violation.

When Johnson got out of a state prison in June on that violation, he didn't go home, but to the Florence County Detention Center. This time, for a second offense of failing to register as a sex offender.

He was released August 6, 2008, because investigators say that charged was dismissed, but haven't said why.

Johnson's older brother William says he still has a lot of questions about his brother's latest arrest but his heart goes out to the victims families.

"They were someone's mother, someone's sister, someone's aunt someone's co worker someone's friend they meant something to somebody," William Johnson said.

William says he will pray for the victims families because he knows they're going through a tough time but he feels like a victim too.

Tommy Johnson will be back in court December 18.