Lieutenant Debbie McCauley, investigator with the Bristol Tennessee Police Department, is not involved in the case, but also compared the sketch, “You got the hair that looks real similar… the chin and then the slanted eyes, the shape of the ears. That in my opinion, this sketch is really close to the person.”
The sketch was based on a description provided by Johnia’s roommate, Jason Aymami, who was also attacked in the middle of the night, but survived. Aymami saw his attacker by the light of the bedroom TV he fell asleep by.
The first time I met Kelly Burke, Johnia’s brother, to work on the Johniaberry.org blog I asked him what he thought of the sketch. He wasn’t sure. It was something, he thought, but it was hard to say how accurate the sketch was.
As the sketch got more attention, calls poured in. People reported seeing someone just like him, working with someone just like him, even seeing an almost identical picture in the Oak Ridge high school annual. Just a few days before Olson was arrested WVLT ran a story about a local bank manager who had reported a young employee who resembled the killer’s sketch.
The person in the sketch was a fairly generic-looking young white male with short hair. In comments at JohniaBerry.org, some people claimed Aymami must be lying, because the sketch was an exact match to someone they know, and that person couldn’t have done it. Other commenters claimed Aymami lied to the police when he because the description was too generic.
Now we know that the sketch really was accurate and ultimately did help solve the case. We’ll know how much it helped once the trial begins. Jason Aymami, long derided and even implicated as an accomplice in Johnia Berry’s murder, deserves long-overdue apologies and credit.