ST. LOUIS – The Supreme Court of Missouri has ordered an execution date for a man convicted in a St. Louis-area girl’s murder from two decades ago.

A St. Louis-based jury found Johnny Johnson guilty of first-degree murder and other criminal charges in the July 2002 death of seven-year-old Cassandra “Casey” Williamson.

Last year, the State of Missouri filed a motion to set an execution date. On Thursday, the state ordered the execution for 6 p.m. on Aug. 1, 2023. The execution will happen under the supervision and direction of the director of the Missouri Department of Corrections.

In 2005, a judge sentenced Johnson to the death penalty for the murder conviction and consecutive life sentences for the other crimes (armed criminal action, kidnapping, and attempted forcible rape). However, Johnson remains on death row at Potosi Correctional Center in Mineral Point, Missouri, following a 2012 attempt to overturn that sentence.

According to FOX 2’s recent in-depth report on the case, Casey and her family were staying at a friend’s house on Thursday, July 25, 2002, located across the street from their own home. Johnson, described as a family acquaintance, also spent the night at that home.

The following morning, Casey’s father, Ernie Williamson, woke before 7 a.m. to see his daughter standing in the living room with Johnson. When Ernie came back from the restroom, both Casey and Johnny were gone.

Sometime after Casey had been reported missing, two county police officers found Johnson walking down the street near the home where everyone had been staying. According to then-St. Louis County Police Chief Ron Battelle, Johnson was soaking wet. Police took Johnson into custody as the search continued.

Later on, volunteers searched the site of the old St. Louis Plate Glass Company, finding Casey’s body in a pit, less than a mile away from her home. 

Missouri has carried out two executions in 2023: Amber McLaughlin on January 3 and Leonard Taylor on Feb. 7.