Is the occult responsible for the double murder of a young couple?
On a cool night in June of 1994, four young people from Tacoma, Washington, were playing a game that involved mystical creatures, fantasy and magic. The next night, two of them were dead. The victims were 25-year-old Michael Johnston and 19-year-old Rochelle Robinson. Detectives soon discovered that Michael and Rochelle had been lovers. Authorities believed the motive for the double murder was jealousy over the affair. Others believed the couple was lured by a charismatic killer into the dangerous world of the occult.
Michael Johnston’s body was found near Rochelle’s car less than six hours after they left the card game. His throat had been cut and he had been shot once in the head at point blank range. Rochelle’s body was found later that day on a remote road five miles from where Michael’s body had been found. She had been stabbed repeatedly, and her throat was slashed to the bone. Police believe that sometime after 1:00 AM, Michael and Rochelle parked their car on a quiet road near a popular shooting range called the Tacoma Sportsman’s Club. They were alone … for a while.
Fred Reinicke was a Detective for the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department at the time of their murder:
According to Detective Reinicke, forensic evidence suggested that Michael was handcuffed, then forced to kneel near the front of Rochelle’s car:
Detective Reinicke concluded that the killer then drove Rochelle to the isolated road and brutally murdered her. He believed it was a crime of passion.
Kevin McMitchell was a friend of Rochelle’s and recalled how, in the months leading up to her murder, she was terrified that someone was following her:
Unfortunately, the stalker’s identity was unknown and after a year, the official investigation began to wind down. To keep the inquiry alive, Michael Johnston’s wife Janet hired a private investigator, Jim Wright. Jim Wright played it by the book and the first person he questioned was Janet Johnston. According to Janet, Wright wanted to know if she was aware of Michael’s extra-marital affair:
Janet passed a polygraph test and Wright dismissed her from any involvement in her husband’s murder. However, he did discover that Michael loved the world of fantasy games, black magic, and the occult. Wright believed that this passion put Michael and Rochelle on a collision course with their killer:
But more than a year had passed since the murders. Every way he turned, Jim Wright found the trail stone cold. Clearly, this was an investigation that demanded an unorthodox approach. Wright then turned to Nancy Myer, a well known psychic who had helped police on more than 300 homicides:
Without revealing his destination, Jim took Nancy to the road near the Sportsman’s Club where Michael had been murdered. She was inundated with visions and had a completely different story of what happened that night. According to Nancy, Michael and the murderer knew each other from their involvement in black magic:
As Nancy saw the crime, Michael and Rochelle were parked on the isolated road. She believed that the killer, a man in his late thirties, and two young accomplices crept up on the unsuspecting lovers:
According to Nancy, the killer then stabbed Rochelle and, along with his two accomplices, proceeded to drive Michael to the Sportsman’s Club. Myer claimed that her crime scene impressions were so vivid, that she was able to envision all three assailants. The authorities, however, are unmoved by Nancy’s visions, or theories that the double murder was linked to the occult. They remain convinced that the killer will be found among Rochelle Robinson’s friends or acquaintances. Meanwhile, Rochelle’s mother, Lynn Robinson, must wait for a resolution:
Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season eight with Robert Stack and in season three with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.SUBMIT A TIP
They should disinter Rochelle and check under her fingernails for dna
Rochelle is my cousin and she was cremated and no evidence was taken by the corner and that’s why the case has never been solved. I think the only way to solve the case now is to link a gun to the bullet that Michael was shot with but that will only be possible if the bullet stayed intact enough for forensics to compare to another bullet fired. Personally I think there is a high probability that it could have been the Spokane Smiley Face serial killer but that is just my personal opinion. This cold case is coming up on 29 years soon and my Aunt and Uncle are not getting any younger. It would be nice if detectives took another look and solved it so my Aunt/Uncle can finally step off the merry go round!
Search the serial number on box through the company and find out where it was delivered
I tried that. Their records don’t go back that far, plus they don’t make that kind of paper anymore.
There were many serial killers in Tacoma WA in the 80s and 90s. Research Mike Reimer and Diana Robertson who were murdered in Tacoma mountains. Before them Stephen Harkins and Ruth Cooper murdered in the mountains. 9yrs later Michael and Rochelle were murdered in a rural area of Tacoma. Gary ridgeway was arrested in 2001 but his M.O was to kill prostitutes. I believe these murders were committed by a serial killer.
Going strictly off the segment alone it looks like his car was found on a traveled road and her body was found on a secluded road if you’re having sex in a car you would want privacy which makes me wonder if maybe the car started where her body was found and actually ended where his body was found which would go along with the psychics assertion she was killed first (not that I believe psychics) …it would help to know who the real intended target was, I think logically it makes sense to think her because of the rage the killer unleashed on her (seemingly personal) but what if the killer was actually obsessed with him thus releasing a jealous rage on her? Was he maybe carrying on MULTIPLE affairs? Not unheard of. Someone out there has more information. I’m also shocked how many of these stalker killings that happen that the police dismiss that so readily…but yet occult is more plausible?!?! People that stalk escalate! A lot like peeping toms.
Where is the composite drawing of the suspect? Sure looked like someone I knew from Tacoma.
if you go to https://unsolvedmysteries.fandom.com/wiki/Michael_Johnston_and_Rochelle_Robinson you can find a sketch. Thank you for not letting this go.
1994 — the tail end of the Bush-era far-right Christian inspired “occult mania” that was unscrupulously used to easily solve cases, and to prosecute and imprison hundreds of innocent persons. The West Memphis Three are the best known example of this awful “witch hunt” period of American history, which extended well into the Clinton reign until sex and drugs once again became the most accepted murder motives. Law enforcement’s nationwide focus on “the occult” resulted in THOUSANDS of unsolved murders and THOUSANDS of real murderers walking free. All part of King George the First proving to us that America was founded on religious freedom — as long as your religion is far-right Christianity.
Unsolved, was there any DNA recovered from either scene and compared to DNA on file?
I was a good friend of rochelles and this being unsolved bothers me. At the time I lived in Roy, basically traveling for miles with nothing in sight and right before this happened I was followed home from where we both worked and it always haunts me. Also the detectives dropped the ball because apparently I was supposed to be interviewed after and I didn’t get a call until a few years ago from the cold case detectives. 20 plus years later my memory isnt as good as it would have been then and that pisses me off!
Could this be the killer? Would have been around same age and description, and was in/near the same area.
I wonder if they ever looked at Tim Burkhart as the murderer?
The fact that this mystery had not been solved is not surprising. These two were D&D geeks and they twisted that into an “obsession with the occult” and take the investigation off in the wrong direction. This has happened time and time again. They spend too much time demonizing a role-playing game that the trail grows cold.
I hope whoever is in charge of the cold case file isn’t focusing entirely on this absurd “occult” angle.
As for the rest of you armchair detectives, repeat after me: black magic isn’t real, the “occult” is just nerdy nonsense, there is nothing mystical about this killer, and a friggin’ boardgame did not compel someone to commit a crime.
Had to be a reason they were separated.
Stalker, feeling of being followed, and strange man staring at you. The knife pricks on the neck are a huge detail. This indeed seems a crime of passion. Why take the time to drive anywhere with her? Stab wounds like that. She was the main victim it seems. Getting dressed hastily.. Yeah they were disturbed on their “outing” the black magic is likely just coincidental. Just a hobby of the guy the girl was sleeping with. Everyone is easy to point to them because its weird and evil and simple but as weird as that stuff is in my opinion, it doesnt account for this tragedy. And a psychic? really? might as well ask dr phil who he thinks did it. Its not hard to play the guessing game and ask questions in between to put the final pieces together making everyone including yourself think you are someone making a difference. Attention thats all these “psychics” want.
At the time, I lived about 3 blocks from the Sportsmans Club. Today, I found myself wondering whether this had ever been solved. I’m sad to hear that it hasn’t been. Such a horrible crime and tragic loss for those families. I think the stalker theory makes more sense…don’t believe in psychic ability.
It’s time the case is looked at again. So much mismanagement has cause the lose of evidence in the case. Where is the murderer now? Does he/they live next door to you?
Michael and Rochelle were friends of mine. Michael had told me he thought he was being followed about 6 weeks before the murder. I think they were both the primary victim. I’m saddened the case still is unsolved.
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I went to High School with Rochelle, and lived a few blocks down the road from her, this obviously happened a year after we graduated and I moved away and was shocked to find out from friends of her death. After this many years later, and with the advancement of forensics solving so many unsolved cases, has Cold Case detectives looked back into this case for possible DNA search for any new leads? I would love one day to know that her killer(s) were finally revealed, caught, prosecuted and….welll let fate decide.
This many years later, I still think of Rochelle from time to time & pray for justice.
Did the murder involve black magic
the box comes from £@&€#%¥+
has the killer ever been caught
So There Is No leads Or names Of The Possible Killers?