Daniel Rees was arrested on March 11, 2020 and charged in the March 30, 1991 rape and murder of 23-year-old Rachael Johnson in Akron, Ohio.
Johnson had been sexually assaulted, stabbed, and her body was set on fire. Police think she may have had a flat tire while driving home from a friend’s house and been attacked while at the roadside or by someone who stopped to assist her. Her 3-year-old daughter, Katelin, was with her when she was raped and killed.
The FGG investigation was conducted by Cheryl Hester at Advance DNA. The initial confirmation was made through police surveillance followed by the surreptitious sampling of items discarded by Rees.
For a long time, Rees lived across the street from the family, and played a role as a family friend in the lives of Johnson’s young daughter and her family.
On Jul 30, 2023, Rees pled guilty to charges of aggravated murder in the Summit County Court of Common Pleas. Johnson’s father lunges at Rees during the sentencing hearing because he was so distraught. At the hearing, Rees stated, “Everything that these people said is true,” he said during his time to speak. “I am a monster. What I did was horrendous.” His guilty plea was entered in exchange for prosecutors taking the death penalty off the table.
Geiger, Dorian. “Daughter Shocked to Find the Suspect in Her Mom’s 1991 Cold Case Murder Was Someone Who ‘Had the Nerve to be a Part of Our Lives’.” Oxygen, March 17, 2020. Accessed December 26, 2020. https://www.oxygen.com/crime-news/daniel-rees-arrested-in-1991-cold-case-killing-of-rachael-johnson.
Goist, Robin. “Akron Police Arrest man Accused in 1991 Cold Case Murder.” Cleveland.com, 12 March 2020. Accessed December 26, 2020. https://www.cleveland.com/crime/2020/03/akron-police-arrest-man-accused-in-1991-cold-case-murder.html.
Luperon, Alberto. “‘You Son of a B—h’: Father Lunges at Man Who Dodged Death Penalty for Murdering his Daughter.” Law & Crime, July 30, 2023. https://lawandcrime.com/crime/you-son-of-a-b-h-father-lunges-at-man-who-dodged-death-penalty-for-murdering-his-daughter/.
Pelisek, Christine. “Ohio Mom Was Raped, Beaten and Set on Fire in 1991 – Now a Man is Charged with Her Murder.” People, March 16, 2020. Accessed December 26, 2020. https://people.com/crime/ohio-mom-was-raped-beaten-and-set-on-fire-in-1991-now-a-man-is-charged-with-her-murder/.