Terrell Johnson went to Orange County’s Lola’s Tavern on December 4, 1979, to reclaim a gun he had pawned to the owner of the tavern, James Dodson.
Dodson had demanded $100 to return the gun even though he had bought it from Johnson for only $50. Johnson wanted to test fire the gun before he gave Dodson the money for it and went out to an accompanying field to fire several shots.
Johnson returned to the tavern angered by the inflation in price that Dodson had requested and decided to rob the tavern.
Johnson relayed to the police that he forced Dodson and Charles Himes, a customer, into the men’s bathroom with the intention of tying them up with electrical cord. He said that Himes attacked him and caused him to shoot both men as he began firing wildly. He then took all of the money out of the cash drawer, as well as Dodson’s gun that was kept under the bar.
As he was wiping the bar surface clear of fingerprints, Johnson heard sounds coming from the bathroom. According to Johnson, he returned to the bathroom and finding Himes alive, shot him again to “stop his suffering.” Johnson later sold the murder weapon prior to leaving Florida.
Johnson was arrested several weeks later for an unrelated crime in Oregon. Johnson still had Dodson’s gun and was linked to the murders by a warrant in the National Crime Information Center.