Charged with second-degree murder as an act of domestic violence, a Dove Creek man remains in custody at the Montezuma County jail on a $1 million bond.
William C. Blackburn, Jr., 42, was charged with the homicide of girlfriend Cindy Johnson on April 23, after a nearly four-month probe by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. Johnson, 61, was found dead inside the couple's Dove Creek home on Jan. 8.
According to court records, Dolores County Sheriff Jerry Martin originally believed the victim died of a drug overdose, because she was known to have abused prescription medication. Six days later, an autopsy indicated that Johnson was strangled.
During the autopsy, Dr. Robert Kurtzman, a forensic pathologist from Grand Junction, found bruising and hemorrhaging. And while the exact time of death remains unknown, officials believe that Johnson died sometime 9 p.m. and midnight on Jan. 7.
Blackburn reportedly told authorities that he last saw his girlfriend alive when he left for work the following morning. He has denied any wrongdoing, telling authorities that he wouldn't have killed the woman he was planning to marry.
But in three separate interviews, CBI agent Jeff Brown noted that Blackburn provided inconsistent statements. In his arrest warrant, Brown suggested that Blackburn might have strangled Johnson after she refused to stop watching television and join him in bed. The suspect's DNA evidence was found under the victim's fingernails.
In days leading up to and following the homicide, telephone records show that Blackburn called several women. Authorities believe he was trying to rekindle past relationships.
Represented by public defender Justin Bogan, Blackburn is set to appear before District Court Judge Todd Plewe for a bond reduction hearing on May 26. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 30.
A lifelong resident of Dove Creek, Johnson enjoyed horseback riding with family and friends. She apparently had a crush on NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath and appropriately named her horse, "Broadway Joe."
According to family, Johnson and Blackburn fell in love two years ago, and the couple enjoyed watching movies, driving back roads, fishing and hunting. Her obituary stated, "Bill treated Cindy like a lady."