Man kills taxi driver, stuffs body in trunk hours after jail release


LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) — Prosecutors say the man accused of killing a taxi driver in Grant County had stiffed the victim for a $90 cab fare last year.

Timmy Johnson Jr. is charged with robbing and fatally stabbing 79-year-old Merle Forbes last Thursday, just hours after Johnson was released from jail. Officers say they found Forbes in the trunk of his cab after Johnson led them on a chase through La Crosse County that ended in a crash.

The La Crosse Tribune ( ) reports Forbes picked up Johnson in Darlington last August and took him to Boscobel. Court records say Johnson told Forbes he needed to retrieve the $90 cab fare from an apartment, but failed to return with the money. Forbes called police.

La Crosse County Circuit Judge Todd Bjerke set bond for Johnson Monday at $500,000 cash.

According to police reports and court records, 25-year-old Johnson was released from jail last Thursday morning in Grant County, where he was serving time for car theft. Forbes left around 5 p.m. to pick up a fare and didn’t return. Some of his belongings were found that night on a dead-end road near Lancaster, Wis.

According to court records, Forbes picked up Johnson on Aug. 24 in Darlington, Wis., and took him to Boscobel, where Johnson said he needed to go to a nearby apartment to get money for the $90 fare.

Johnson’s attorneys said he has “unresolved mental health issues” and did not receive his medications while in the Grant County jail. Read more at The La Crosse Tribune ( )

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