Fugitive killer agrees to return to Colorado
Wearing a pair of reading glasses he borrowed from the judge, fugitive murderer Robert Charles Johnson, 57, signed paperwork Wednesday that cleared the way for him to be returned to Colorado after 32 years on the run.
“I’ve wanted to get this over for 32 years,” Johnson told East Fork Justice Jim EnEarl as he signed his real name to the waiver of extradition.
Johnson was captured Monday by U.S. Marshals and Douglas County deputies at a duplex in the 1300 block of Kimmerling Road where he lived as Robert Fargo and worked as a river raft guide.
“I’ve been a good citizen,” Johnson said, fighting back tears.
“Over the years, on two separate occasions, I have revealed myself to attorneys. They both came back and said, ‘You were railroaded,’ or misrepresented,” he said.
EnEarl gave Colorado authorities until Oct. 8 to pick up Johnson.
“That should be a fair amount of time for Colorado authorities to fly here and pick you up,” EnEarl said.
EnEarl told Johnson he’d been a gentleman in court and wished him a safe trip back to Colorado.
“I think this time around, I’ll know a lot more about life than I did when I was 20,” Johnson said.
Johnson had an option to fight extradition, which would have delayed his return up to three months.
“I want to settle this issue,” he said. “For 32 years, I’ve been signing this name (Fargo).”
Johnson was serving a 10- to 15-year sentence in Colorado for a 1973 second-degree murder conviction when he escaped in 1975.
He was convicted of the 1972 slaying of Michael Albert Lucas, who was found dead from a gunshot wound on a hiking trail in El Paso County, Colo.
Investigators said the men were involved with others in marijuana distribution in El Paso County.
Deputy U.S. Marshal George Schroeder said Tuesday that after Johnson’s escape in 1973, officials lost contact until he showed up at Angels Camp, Calif., in 1990 working for a river rafting outfit. Schroeder said he was arrested after a fight, but was using the assumed name and a different birth date and Social Security number.
By the time officials got back fingerprints, Johnson had disappeared.
Through information and surveillance, officials were able to track down Robert Fargo with the same date of birth living at the address on Kimmerling, he said.
Schroeder said Johnson was the subject of a July 23, 2003, domestic dispute investigated by Douglas County deputies. There was no physical contact, so the couple was referred for counseling.
He was using the name Robert Fargo with the false birth date and Social Security number.
Schroeder said Johnson’s girlfriend had no idea she was living with an escaped murderer.