Police have made an arrest in the murder of 21-year-old Taylor Johnson of Delta.
Jesse River Hill, 23, of Surrey has been arrested and faces a second degree murder charge in the death of Johnson. He made his first appearance on Thursday in Surrey Provincial Court. He also faces charges of break and enter with intent, disguise with intent and discharge of a firearm with intent.
Johnson was found shot to death on Feb. 26 in a 200 Street home in Fernridge, which contained a grow-op. Johnson was the caretaker of the grow-op and Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) is saying the motive for the murder is a grow rip.
“The accused and the Taylor did not know each other,” said IHIT’s Sgt. Jennifer Pound. “This was a senseless act.”
Taylor’s parents Paul and Wendi spoke to media about their son at a press conference on Thursday in Surrey.
“It’s a horrific experience losing a child, but when you throw in the word murder it brings in terror,” said Paul, a pastor at South Delta Baptist Church.
Pound said Johnson was a “good kid.
“He was naive and made a bad decision that cost him his life,” said Pound.
He was found dead in the home, in the 2000 block of 200 Street, after Langley RCMP received a call asking them to check on the wellbeing of a man staying at the residence. When they attended, they found him dead, and also found a marijuana grow-op on the property.
Paul Johnson told Black Press in March that his son had been house-sitting at the Langley home. Taylor Johnson was an avid sports enthusiast, playing rugby at South Delta Secondary when he attended there, and previously at Tucson High in Arizona. He also enjoyed snowboarding, ice hockey and baseball.
“He was the kind of kid that was really well-liked by all of his friends,” said Johnson. “He was a very endearing, very soft-hearted kid.”
He had been attending the Nimbus School of Recording Arts to pursue a career in music and was due to graduate last March.
Taylor leaves behind five siblings. He lost his biological mom to cancer when he was young. Wendi is his step mom.
“This is an open wound that is very raw,” said Wendi on Thursday. “We each live with it daily. We miss him so much. He was a great brother, a great son. He had a spirit about him.”
Taylor’s parents said they had questioned him about some of the new friends he had been around.
“He was very trusting and had a lot of compassion for others,” said Paul.
IHIT continues their investigation and aren’t ruling out other arrests in this case.
In the meantime, the Johnsons aren’t going to live with hatred for the man who took their son’s life.
“We can’t carry around bitterness or hatred. That would just destroy our family,” said Paul.