Police: Cigar wrapper links parolee to murder victim found in backyard of home

Police: Cigar wrapper links parolee to murder victim found in backyard of home
Dale Sands (Source: EBRSO)
Dale Sands (Source: EBRSO)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Court records reveal how investigators built a case against a man accused of robbing and murdering an insurance agent.

According to the probable cause report submitted by the Baton Rouge Police Department, DNA evidence found inside the victim's car is what pointed investigators to the suspect, Daryel Johnson. Additionally, the victim's body was found behind Johnson's home.

The case was launched by the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office on August 22, 2017, when Dale Sands, 53, was reported missing by his wife.

"The victim's phone was last active at approximately 12:40 on 8-22-2017 in the area of 9074 Great Smoky, which is where his remains were located on 8-23-2017 at approximately [2:30 p.m.]," states the report. "Detectives would locate video of the victim in his 2001 green 4 door Ford F-150 on video on 8-22-2017 at approximately [noon] at Sullivan and Greenwell Springs Rd."

Sands' vehicle was allegedly not located at the scene the day his body was found. It was, however, located less than a mile from the crime scene the following day by a Baton Rouge Police uniform patrol officer.

"The vehicle was towed to the Baton Rouge Police evidence shed, a search warrant for the vehicle was obtained, and a search of the vehicle was conducted," states the report. "During the search a wrapper for a Black and Mild cigar was located and seized."

The Louisiana State Police Crime Lab conducted forensic testing on the wrapper. Fingerprints on the wrapper allegedly matched Johnson.

Not only was Johnson's home address the same location where Sands' body was found, but investigators learned he was on probation for an armed robbery conviction in St. Tammany Parish. He was released on good behavior in November 2016.

"Detectives would interview a witness who advised that on 8-25-2017 they overheard the defendant telling someone on the phone that he had meant to move the body before anyone found it," states the report. "When [Johnson] realized this person had heard the comment, he threatened them by saying if they told anyone he would kill them and their children."

Several residents in the area claim to have seen Johnson in the victim's vehicle after Sands' was killed.

The report does not state, however, if Sands' wallet, cell phone and keys were found.

Johnson was arrested on Thursday, August 31. He was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on charges of first-degree murder, armed robbery and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

Johnson is behind held without bond. The case is assigned to Judge Louis Daniel.

Copyright 2017 WAFB. All rights reserved.