Nobody could have predicted the events that followed when John Thurberg left home to go to work at the restaurant where he worked.
The young manager was killed in a bungled heist, leaving his fiancée devastated. Investigation ‘Homicide City: A Manager’s Murder‘ on Discovery tells the story of an inside job to loot a restaurant that resulted in needless death.
So, how about we find out more about this case?
What Caused John Thurberg’s Death?
John was a 28-year-old native of Massachusetts. He was characterised as a cheerful and gregarious individual who usually smiled.
At the time, John was engaged to Patti Hemko, and they shared a home in Langhorne, Pennsylvania.
Before John was relocated to another office in Abington, Pennsylvania, they met while working at a neighbourhood restaurant. He was an assistant manager there at the time.
When tragedy struck, the couple was just months away from marrying. On May 13, 1996, John went to work before 8 a.m. but never returned.
After one of the restaurant employees called 911 to report a robbery, authorities rushed to the scene.
John was discovered facedown in a pool of blood in one of the washroom stalls. He’d been shot in the back of the head behind his right ear, like an executioner. The murder weapon, according to officials, was a pistol.
Who was John Thurberg’s killer?
The purpose of the robbery was obvious, but things didn’t go as planned for the suspects. Two other employees were present throughout the incident, in addition to John.
They were Mark Griffin and the dishwasher, Johnnie Blalock, who was 30 years old at the time. Johnnie remained uninjured, but Mark was shot in the hand and transported to the hospital.
According to the show, Johnnie said to the cops that two armed guys barged into the restaurant, one of whom wrestled with John before all three were overpowered and bound.
Johnnie claimed to have heard a gunshot and afterward witnessed the two assailants fleeing in a getaway car.
Mark later validated the majority of the account, but claimed to have seen the perpetrators depart on foot. The three men had previously been separated and held in different restroom stalls.
The cops became suspicious that Johnnie knew more than he was letting on, and they pressured him for more information.
He later claimed to know the attackers, named them David Travers and Samuel Hall, according to the show.
Both of them were apprehended by the authorities, but what Samuel told them changed the path of the investigation.
Samuel, who was roughly 20 years old at the time, stated that Johnnie planned the heist and that David, who was 18 at the time, was the triggerman.
Soon after, a disturbing story of an inside job surfaced. Johnnie had managed to get her hands on a key to the restaurant.
On the morning of the incident, he let David and Samuel in before the others. John, Mark, and Johnnie were then ambushed by the two men.
While they attempted to rob the safe in the restaurant, Johnnie pretended he was unaware of the scheme.
The safe, however, was divided into two portions, one of which required two keys. One was with John, the manager, and the other was with the armoured truck driver who would be arriving to pick up the money.
The other half, on the other hand, was reachable. Despite John’s assurances that he would access the second compartment, the robbers believed they might take more.
Meanwhile, other employees ringing the doorbell to be let in interrupted the burglars. David, who was terrified, shot John in the head and fled with Samuel.
Johnnie Blalock, David Travers, and Samuel Ross: Where Are They Now?
Samuel pleaded guilty to third-degree murder after cooperating with the investigators. According to the episode, he was sentenced to 60 years in prison.
Samuel is still detained in Pennsylvania’s State Correctional Institution – Somerset. David Travers, on the other hand, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, while Johnnie Travers pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.
Both were given life sentences in jail. Johnnie is still imprisoned at State Correctional Institution – Mahanoy in Frackville, Pennsylvania, while David is serving his sentence at State Correctional Institution – Albion.