Wednesday, September 13, 2000
Steamboat Springs The current wife of accused murderer Thomas Lee Johnson is seeking an annulment in Routt County Court Friday afternoon.
"This seems to be a case in which an annulment is appropriate," said Kim Goodwin's attorney, Randall Klauzer.
Johnson is accused of murdering Goodwin's best friend, Lori Bases, who was stabbed to death in her Steamboat Springs apartment May 11.
Goodwin married Johnson on May 28 in Las Vegas, just 17 days after the murder.
Goodwin could not be reached for comment, but an affidavit she filed states she was "emotionally fragile" when Johnson suggested the Vegas trip.
"He talked her into going to Vegas to help her deal with the trauma of the loss of her best friend," Klauzer said. "On the spur of the moment, he asked her to get married. She was, emotionally, extremely fragile."
Steamboat Springs police took about six weeks to arrest a suspect, Johnson, in the murder.
During that time, police learned that Johnson may have vandalized Bases' car a month before her murder.
On April 9, Bases reported her vehicle had been vandalized. Goodwin had been staying at Bases' apartment and told police she believed she saw Johnson's work van drive by the apartment. No arrests were made at the time.
But the vandalism, coupled with an anonymous tip, gave investigators reason to put Johnson at the top of their suspect's list.
"It (anonymous tip) said Johnson had a history of violent behavior and we should take another look at him," said J.D. Hays, director of public safety for Steamboat Springs.
Indeed, court documents from Boulder County show Johnson had a restraining order against him because of domestic violence in his first marriage.
Hays believes that Johnson thought Bases was interfering with his relationship with Goodwin, who was her best friend.
"He knew Lori through Kim Goodwin. To our knowledge" that was their only connection, Hays said.
In early June, police tailed Johnson to California with his new wife, Goodwin.
Then, investigators got a tip he was coming to Colorado. On June 23, Johnson arrived in Steamboat via Greyhound bus.
Police arrested him that same day, after Johnson phoned his ex-wife, Michelle Linnebur, and allegedly confessed to the murder.
"I think it was wearing on his mind that he did something horrible," Hays said about the alleged confession.
According to court documents, Goodwin stated she left Johnson on June 21, just two days before he showed up in Steamboat Springs.
In an affidavit, she explained why she married Johnson, even though she suspected he may have vandalized Bases' car.
"Thomas indicated that he was a man of trustworthiness and honesty and that he had no involvement with the death of Lori Bases, and would aid me in dealing with the murder of my best friend upon becoming married," read Goodwin's affidavit.
Goodwin also states she "would not have gotten married" if Johnson wouldn't have represented himself as such.
Goodwin's attorney is confident the judge will annul the marriage on Friday. He also noted that Johnson has not responded to any of the annulment documents.
"I don't think he'll show up," Klauzer said.
To reach Frances Hohl call 871-4208