Over 3 years after Kristine's abduction and murder the death penalty trial against her accused murderer has started today.http://www.mlive.com/news/muchronicle/index.ssf?/base/news-5/115219898647600.xml&coll=8#continue
Father expects slaying trial to revive emotions
Thursday, July 06, 2006 By John Tunison
CHRONICLE NEWS SERVICE
Kirk Johnson of Holland is prepared for a flood of emotions inside a California courtroom next week.
After a three-year wait, the trial is set to begin for a man accused of abducting Johnson's 21-year-old daughter under the guise of a photo shoot and strangling her.
"It's all going to come back," he said. "It's all being brought back to the surface."
Johnson said he has waited patiently for justice in the death of his daughter, Kristine Johnson, an aspiring actress who moved to California after graduating from Saugatuck High School in 1999.
"It's always been on the horizon," the Holland man said. "It's been over three years, and now, all of the sudden, bang, it's here."
Jury selection in the capital murder case against Victor Paleologus, 43, is expected to begin Friday in Los Angeles. The trial could last several weeks.
"His past is going to be totally exposed," Johnson said.
Police allege Paleologus lured Johnson to her death by posing as a publicity photographer for movie industry executives. Johnson, who lived in Santa Monica and worked for a cellular phone company, vanished Feb. 15, 2003, after telling her roommate she was going to a photo shoot.
Her body was discovered in early March, wrapped in a sleeping bag at the bottom of a ravine in the Hollywood Hills with her ankles bound.
The search for Johnson after her disappearance and the subsequent charges against Paleologus, initially arrested for auto theft, garnered national media attention.
Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney David Walgren is expected to call numerous other women to testify about Paleologus and how he allegedly tried to lure them with a similar photo scheme.
Kirk Johnson plans to attend the first several days of the trial, but said he isn't sure he can handle defense testimony to try to exonerate Paleologus. The suspect was released from prison just three weeks before Johnson's disappearance. He'd served time for a variety of charges, including assault with intent to commit a sex offense and burglary.
Johnson said he expects his brother from Anchorage, Alaska, and his mother from California to attend the trial.
Paleologus faces a possible death penalty because he is a three-time convicted felon and because he is charged with "lying in wait" before allegedly killing Kristine Johnson.