Self-Proclaimed Serial Killer Sentenced to Death in Oklahoma for 1997 Murder of Newlywed Teen

In 2016, DNA evidence linked William Reece to Tiffany Johnston's 1997 killing

Tiffany Johnston

An admitted serial killer was sentenced to death in Oklahoma last week for abducting, raping and murdering a teenage newlywed in 1997.

Court records obtained by PEOPLE show William Lewis Reece, 62, received his sentence on Thursday from Oklahoma County District Judge Susan Stallings.

The Oklahoman was present for Thursday's proceedings and reports that Reece stayed silent when offered the chance to speak to the family of his victim, Tiffany Johnston.

Stallings, however, did not remain silent.

"There's an old saying in the law, 'Justice delayed is justice denied,'" Stallings told Reece. "Justice will not be delayed any longer in this case. I sentence you to death."

William Lewis Reece
Houston Police Department

The paper reports that Reece's attorney plans to appeal the sentence.

Reece was convicted of first-degree murder back in June, records confirm.

Prosecutors argued at trial that Reece was the man who abducted Johnston from a car wash in Bethany on July 26, 1997, according to the Oklahoman.

The 19-year-old bride had been married just three months when she was forced into the horse trailer Reece strangled her to death in.

Her nude body was found dumped in tall grass along the side of a dirt road.

Reece was linked to Johnston's murder in 2016 through DNA evidence.

In time, Reece allegedly admitted to killing a total of four females — three in Texas, where he's from.

Reece allegedly told police he killed Laura Smither, 12, in the Houston suburb of Friendswood in 1997, the paper reports. Smither vanished while out for a jog, and her body was found a month later.

He also confessed to killing Kelli Cox, a 20-year-old student at the University of North Texas in Denton who vanished on July 15, 1997. Her remains were found at a rice field south of Houston in April 2016.

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He also admitted to killing 17-year-old Jessica Cain, 17, who was last seen in Texas on Aug. 17, 1997. Her remains were found on March 2016 at a dig site in Houston.

After the sentencing, the Oklahoman caught up with Johnston's mother, Kathy Dobry, for her thoughts.

"He's just a serial killer," Dobry said. "He doesn't care about anyone but himself."

Dobry also said she could never find forgiveness in her heart for Reece.

"I believe in God and all that but I will never forgive him," she acknowledged. "And I'm glad people can. But not this momma."

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