Bill Johnston devoted his career as a federal prosecutor to in effect protect the sheep from the wolves. Today in private practice he specializes in complex fraud cases.
Johnston played the key role in launching a nationwide manhunt for notorious serial killer Kenneth Allen McDuff who tortured and murdered countless young women across Texas. Plus Johnston , who has been featured in Texas Monthly spearheaded an investigation into corrupt practices in the Texas parole system that set McDuff and hundreds more convicted criminals like him free on early parole.
During three decades of practice in federal and state courts, Johnston has tried cases in more than two hundred jury trials and handled more than five thousand cases.
Significant Federal Cases Tried by Bill Johnston
United States v. Branch, et al (The Branch Davidian Cult case).
Two-month long jury trial in San Antonio, Texas. 8 of 11 defendants were convicted of crimes related to the killing of 4 ATF agents and attempted murder of agents of the FBI during the federal raid and stand-off near Waco, Texas.
United States v. Pierson
Federal mail bombing case included the first federal prosecution in the United States under the Violence Against Women Act. The defendant was convicted by a federal jury and received a 38-year federal prison sentence.
United States v. Laws
“Car-jacking” resulting in the death of an elderly Texas man. The case involved the first federal jury trial in the United States in which mitochondrial DNA was used in evidence against a defendant.
FBI lab DNA Branch Chief Mark Wilson suggested the novel use of this sort of non-nuclear DNA in the trial. The defendant was convicted and received a life sentence in federal prison.
United States v. McDuff (Kenneth McDuff serial killer case)
Sought and obtained a warrant for serial killer Kenneth McDuff and worked on a 6-week nationwide manhunt for the killer. McDuff had killed 3 teenagers in Ft. Worth, Texas in the late 1960s and received the death penalty.
He was released from prison in the 1990s and began to kill again. Directed investigation into the reasons behind the killer’s release. The investigation revealed improper dealings by the Chairman of the Texas Parole Board. Johnston successfully prosecuted the Chairman, Dr. James Granberry.
United States v. Urick and Young
This federal murder-for-hire case centered on an individual named Sammy Leldon Urick, who abducted, tortured, and murdered a man from Waco, Texas. The investigation revealed that Urick had also been a part of an international espionage network involving two CIA Officers who had been corrupted by Libyan Dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
These two agents, Frank Terpil and Edmund Wilson, had been assisted by Urick after they provided large quantities of plastic explosives to Libya. These explosives were later used in international terrorism. The two officers fled. One is currently in U.S. prison, the other is in Cuba. Urick was convicted of the offense of foreign travel in aid of murder-for-hire and received a life sentence.