Hillyard man accused of killing girlfriend: ‘I couldn’t let her go’

Joshua Forrester in his first court appearance

SPOKANE, Wash.— A woman shot to death in a Hillyard apartment the day after Christmas was murdered while she slept, according to the suspect’s own confession.

The woman’s mother and court documents confirm that the woman was 24-year-old Alianna Johnson. Johnson’s 1-year-old child was in the home at the time of the murder but was not hurt.

The Spokane County Medical Examiner ruled the cause of death by gunshot wounds, deeming it a homicide.

Her boyfriend the child’s father was arrested for her murder and explained to police what happened.

Joshua Forrester was seen walking near the apartment shortly after police were called to the scene. He was covered in blood and not wearing shoes. He was arrested and booked into the Spokane County Jail on first degree murder charges.

A judge set his bail Friday morning at $1 million.

Court documents show that Forrester owns the apartments where the murder occurred. One of his tenants heard loud noises, then gunshots just after 5:30 Thursday morning. The tenant said he saw Forrester covered in blood and carrying a gun, then Forrester made a comment that he did something bad.

The next person to see Forrester was a woman who was coming to work at the Northeast Youth Center. She drove up and saw Forrester covered in blood. She asked him if he needed help and he said, Just tell them that I denied Jesus. That woman then called 911 and police arrived and took Forrester into custody.

Court documents say Forrester said to them something that sounded like I hurt Jesus.

The Spokane County Medical Examiner arrived at the crime scene and noted several gunshot wounds to Johnson’s body. She was lying on the living room floor. An arriving officer found a small child in the bedroom; the child was not hurt.

The gun was found near the victim’s body.

At the police station, Forrester agreed to answer questions. He told officers, There is no excuse. I can’t explain it.

He said he and Johnson had been having difficulties in their relationship and that she told him this was the worst Christmas ever.

He said he recently quit his job at UPS and that Johnson had said she wanted to break up with him on Christmas. He said they argued, and she went to sleep on a bed on the floor and he slept on the couch.

He said sometime around midnight, he went to the safe, grabbed his gun and loaded it. Then, he put the gun in a kitchen drawer. He told police he got up a couple of hours later and grabbed the gun, then said he wasn’t able to do it at that time. He put the gun away again and went back to the couch, according to court documents.

Forrester told police that he got up again around 5:30 am and grabbed the gun again. He said he stood over her while she slept and starting shooting her. He said she woke up at some point during the shooting. The investigator asked him why he did it and, according to court records, Forrester said that something took over him and did he didn’t know why he did it.

“He later admitted that he shot her ‘because I couldn’t let her go,'” according to court records.

Forrester said he tried CPR, but it wasn’t working. He said he looked for his phone to call 911, but couldn’t find it. Then, he claimed he grabbed the victim’s phone to call 911, but said it wouldn’t go through.

Forrester was ordered in court Friday not to have any contact with Johnson’s family, including the child the couple shared.

Following the incident, the Domestic Violence Consortium reached out to 4 News Now with the following statement:

“The Spokane Regional Domestic Violence Coalition is saddened by the recent loss related to domestic violence and firearms in our community.  The Coalition is focused on preventing domestic violence; educating and creating awareness, and continued community collaboration and coordination to eliminate violence. We are currently working on a nationally-awarded firearms technical assistance project as stories like these are all to familiar. If you are a victim in our community, please contact YWCA Spokane or Lutheran Community Services. Together, we are committed to ‘End the Violence.'”