The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office has ruled the deaths of highly respected lawyers and Oak Park residents Thomas Johnson, 69, and Leslie Ann Jones, 67, as homicide by “multiple sharp force injuries” in a report released April 15.
Johnson and Jones, a married couple with adult children, were partners in the Chicago law firm Johnson, Jones, Snelling, Gilbert & Davis.
According to biographies posted on the law firm’s web page, Jones specialized in federal litigation and had taught at Northwestern’s law school. Johnson, during a 40-year career, worked as a hearing officer for the Chicago Police Board. He also worked on reform of voter registration and electoral system reforms.
“This type of incident is troublesome and saddens us,” Oak Park Police Chief LaDon Reynolds told Wednesday Journal in an April 14 phone call.
In a press release issued Tuesday by the village, Reynolds said there was “no information to suggest that there’s any risk to the neighborhood or community” and that police have increased their visibility and patrols in the area “out of an abundance of caution.”
When asked if police believed the attack was random or carried out by someone the couple knew, Oak Park Communications Director David Powers said, “This is an ongoing investigation. Police are not going to provide the types of details you are seeking.”
When asked if police had recovered a weapon, Powers said, “As this is an active and ongoing police investigation, no additional information is available at this time.”
Reynolds could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.
Oak Park Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb said late April 15, “That on behalf of the village and the village board we offer our sincere sympathies to the family and friends of this couple who were so loved and respected by so many.”
Neighbors and friends are holding a socially distanced memorial vigil outside of the couple’s home Wednesday night. Those attending were invited to bring a candle, as well as an object that reminded them of Jones and Johnson.
Police arrived at the home in the 500 block of Fair Oaks Avenue around 7:30 p.m., April 13 to conduct a welfare check after receiving a request from friends of the residents.
“On behalf of the Oak Park Police Department, I want to offer our condolences to the family and friends of Ms. Jones and her husband, Mr. Johnson, both of whom are known in the community and beyond,” Reynolds said in a video released by the village.
“It may be difficult understand why we cannot provide more information right now. But the number one priority at this time must be ensuring the integrity and thoroughness of the investigation.”
Oak Park police are being assisted in their investigation by the West Suburban Major Crimes Task Force, “which combines the expertise and resources of several police departments,” said Powers.
This story is developing.
Updated to reflect new information.