Sacto 9-1-1
July 1, 2013
Ask Sacto 911 crime Q&A: Was anyone arrested in 1990s slaying at Burger King restaurant?

Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.

QUESTION: There was a murder at what was a Burger King on Sunrise Boulevard about 20 years ago. Were the murderers ever caught?
Submitted by: Charles, Rancho Cordova

ANSWER:Four people were arrested in the 1994 slaying of 56-year-old William Robert Johnstone, general manager of the Burger King restaurant at Sunrise Boulevard and Coloma Road, in the Gold River area.

According to stories in The Bee, Johnstone was closing the restaurant about 11:20 p.m. July 31, when a gang of robbers wearing ski masks and nylon stocking head coverings stormed the rear entrance and shot him twice before rifling through the cash register.

Investigators said Johnstone stumbled outside with a fatal wound to his femoral artery following the attack. He was transported to UC Davis Medical Center, where he died the following morning.

Authorities later arrested Saterial Marcell Thomas, Melvin Smith, Leo Doley and a 17-year-old juvenile, whose name was not released.

Doley, the alleged triggerman, hanged himself in March 1997 while in Sacramento County Jail awaiting trial in the case. He was 23 years old.

According to Sacramento Superior Court online records, Thomas pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison with possibility of parole. Smith pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and robbery and was sentenced to 21 years to life in prison.

Thomas, now 37, is incarcerated at California State Prison, Solano, and Smith, 38, is at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville.

Have a Sacto 911 question? Submit it here.

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.

About Sacto 9-1-1

Sacto 9-1-1 is a blog on crime and emergency services news in the Sacramento region.

Send feedback on Sacto 9-1-1 to Assistant Metro Editor Anthony Sorci at

Subscribe to Breaking News Alerts

Arrest Logs

Sacto 9-1-1 Q&A

Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues. QUESTION: A couple of years ago, a Sacramento tax attorney named Roni Deutch was the target of an investigation by the California Department of Justice. She was accused of bilking clients out of millions and defying a court (Read More)

More Questions and Answers
See all the crime Q&As
Submit your question

March 2016

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    

Monthly Archives

Kim Minugh on Twitter

Follow "Kim_Minugh" on Twitter

Local Agencies on Twitter