William Reece, accused of Houston-area serial killings, formally sentenced to death in Oklahoma

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Thursday, August 19, 2021
Man accused of Houston serial killings formally sentenced to death
Now that William Reece is off to Oklahoma death row, families of Texas victims of the newly-condemned still want him to face justice here.

OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma (KTRK) -- A man accused in the serial killings of a woman and two girls in the Houston area has now been formally sentenced to Oklahoma's death row.

William Reece was sentenced by a judge on Thursday in the 1997 murder of 19-year-old Tiffany Johnston, who was abducted from a car wash in the Oklahoma City area. Johnston's body was found a day later.

Back in May, a jury convicted Reece of first-degree murder and kidnapping in the case. The same jury recommended the death penalty as his sentence.

William Lewis Reece, 61, was charged with first-degree murder and kidnapping in the 1997 killing of 19-year-old Tiffany Johnston, who was abducted from a car wash in Bethany, Oklahoma. Her body was found the next day in Canadian County.

SEE ALSO: Accused serial killer with ties to Houston found guilty in Oklahoma teen's kidnapping and murder

A Texas Ranger testified during a preliminary hearing in 2017 that Reece acknowledged killing "the Oklahoma girl" during an interview in March 2016. He's also suspected of killing a woman and two girls in Texas in 1997.

Johnston, 20-year-old Kelli Cox, 17-year-old Jessica Cain and 12-year-old Laura Smither all disappeared over a four-month period in 1997, after Reece had been released from an Oklahoma prison for previous rape and kidnapping convictions. Smither was from Friendswood and Cain was from Tiki Island. Cox was from Denton, Texas.

In 2016, Reece was already serving a 60-year prison sentence in Texas for kidnapping when he led police to graves in southeast Houston and Brazoria County where Cain and Cox's remains were found. In the end, investigators said he confessed to the four murders and cooperated as part of a deal with prosecutors who agreed to take the death penalty off the table in Texas.

Meanwhile, Reece still faces murder charges in Galveston County for the deaths of Cain and Laura Smither, and it's unclear how those will move forward.

SEE ALSO: Remembering Jessica Cain, 24 years after her disappearance

Remembering Jessica Cain, 20 years after her disappearance

EXCLUSIVE: Woman says she was kidnapped by William Reece speaks out for first time

Anjanette Sorrentino speaks about her kidnapping for the first time, Marla Carter reports.