$2 million reward offered to help solve murder of gay man found naked at the bottom of a cliff

'There's now up to two million reasons to talk to us'

Graig Graziosi
Tuesday 10 March 2020 21:55
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Thirty-two years ago, a 27-year-old gay man was stripped naked and forced over the top of a cliff in Australia.

Though his death was initially ruled a suicide, eventually a corner ruled that Scott Johnson was killed because he was gay.

Last year, Australian authorities offered $1 million for information leading to a prosecution related to the killing of Mr Johnson, an American. This year, Mr Johnson’s brother is matching the offer, raising the reward for answers to $2 million.

According to Pink News, the new reward was announced on Tuesday.

Mr Johnson’s brother, Steve, said he was happy the world is a more open and tolerant society for the LGBTQI communities to “be their true selves, live safely and unlock their full potential.”

“I wish Scott had been afforded the same opportunity, and every effort I put into helping find his killers is also to acknowledge that bullying and gay-hate crime will not be tolerated in our community,” Steve Johnson said.

During the announcement, he pledged the money and called on people to help.

“So, in addition to the existing $1 million reward, I will provide up to an additional $1 million for the NSW Police Commissioner, at his discretion, to award to any person who comes forward with new information leading to the arrest and conviction of my brother’s killer or killers,” he said. “Please, do it for Scott, do it for all gay men who were subject to hate crime, and now, do it for yourself.”

Steve Johnson said he’d wished that people’s goodwill would have brought forth information sooner.

“While we’d like to believe a person’s conscience would force them to come forward, it’s clearly not in this case,” he said. “So, if you’ve got the information we need - and cash appeals to you - there’s now up to two million reasons to talk to us.”

In 2018, state coroner Michael Barnes concluded that Mr Johnson “fell from the cliff top as a result of actual or threatened violence by unidentified persons who attacked him because they perceived him to be homosexual.”

This judgement resulted in Australian authorities re-opening the 32-year-old case.

Mr Johnson was in Australia because he had been dating an Australian PhD student and was trying to get permanent residency in the country.

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