Kentucky police have arrested a third suspect in a gruesome torture and murder case in Louisville last fall.
Daniel E. Rosselot, 36, was arrested Friday and charged with complicity to murder, two counts of complicity to first-degree unlawful imprisonment, complicity to abuse of a corpse, and complicity to tampering with physical evidence, the Louisville Courier Journal reports.
Samantha Leigh Johnson and James Douglas Branham were arrested earlier this year in the kidnapping and torture of Jeremy Lind, 35, and his girlfriend on September 27, 2020.
Police said that a group of suspects kidnapped the couple at gunpoint at about 1 a.m. that morning, then forced them to strip naked and eat dog food. The suspects brutally tortured Lind, eventually cutting out his tongue, wrapping it in foil, and shoving it into his mouth, where it choked him to death.
Lind’s girlfriend was forced to watch the torture and then clean up his blood, according to police, who was allegedly kept alive to be used in human trafficking. But she escaped later in the day, police said, and the suspects kept Lind’s body in a shed for several days before they dumped it into an alley, where it was found on September 30.
Johnson, 32, and Robert Lee Smothers, 40 — a childhood friend of Lind’s — were arrested in January, but in March, prosecutors dropped the charges against Smothers, saying they no longer believed he committed the crime. Days before Smothers’s release, police arrested James Douglas Branham, 39, saying he told them he was paid to help kidnap and torture the victims.
Rosselot’s arrest report says that he, too, confessed to being present while Lind and his girlfriend were “held unlawfully against their will” and that he struck Lind “several times with a weapon” before he died. He reportedly told police that he and another co-defendant bound the victim’s hands and feet and wrapped his body in tarps.
Rosselot entered a not guilty plea at his arraignment Saturday morning. He was granted a $25,000 bond and ordered to have no contact with Lind’s girlfriend or family members of either victim and not to possess any weapons. He is due back in court on July 26.
The other two suspects are facing similar charges to Rosselot: Branham has been charged with complicity to murder, complicity to kidnapping resulting in the victim’s death, complicity to kidnapping an adult, complicity to abuse of a corpse, complicity to first-degree unlawful imprisonment, complicity to second-degree assault, complicity to tampering with physical evidence, and complicity to possession of a handgun by a convicted felon.
Johnson was charged with murder, wanton endangerment, assault, two counts of kidnapping, two counts of unlawful imprisonment, abuse of a corpse, and tampering with physical evidence. She has also pleaded not guilty.
Johnson and Branham were ordered held on $1 million bond and have pretrial hearings set for August 2,
Police have not revealed a motive for the brutal kidnapping and killing, but a detective testified in court that Lind’s girlfriend told police they had stolen items out of a vehicle a few days before they were kidnapped and sold them, WDRB reported. The vehicle belonged to Johnson’s boyfriend.
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[Featured image: James Branham, Samantha Johnson, and Daniel Rosselot/Jefferson County Jail]