Some closure in what is a very sad story: The mystery of a gay man Scott Johnson‘s death in 1988 has finally been solved.
Scott, 27, was a US citizen who went to Australia to study for his math doctorate and be with his Australian partner, Michael Noone. His body was found at the foot of cliffs at Manly’s North Head Beach, outside Sydney.
Police were quick to dismiss his death as a suicide. However, Scott’s friends and family never believed this to be the case.
Related: US man offers $660,000 to find killer of his gay brother in Australia
His brother, in particular, fought for over three decades to find those responsible for what had happened. Steve Johnson has paid over AUS$1million ($660,000) of his own money on private investigations into what happened to Scott. He knew his brother as a “proud” gay man, and the area in which he died was a gay cruising spot, where other men had been victims of hate-related crimes.
In 2020, Steve pledged an additional AUS$1million ($660,000) reward to anyone who might come forward with information. This matched a figure already on offer from cops. That AUS$2million bounty reawakened interest in the cold case.
An informant tipped off the police, which led to the arrest of a suspect.
In May 2021, Scott White, 49, was charged with the killing of Johnson. He denied the charges.
This week, White changed his story and admitted his guilt. The admission came Monday but was only revealed today after his lawyers unsuccessfully argued he wasn’t fit to make the admission.
Speaking to the press today after White’s admission of guilt was made public, his brother Steve said:
“I think primarily I’m feeling relief and I am thinking about my brother and that a lot of people cared about him to bring this result today,” reports ABC.“[We’re] greatly relieved that the accused found it in his soul to confess and plead guilty and put an end to this, so I’m very happy about that.”
Hopefully Steve and his family can rest a bit easier knowing their brother’s killer has been caught. White will be sentenced on May 2.