3 arrested in Norwood cold-case homicide from 2018

Photos courtesy of the Stanly County Sheriff's Office

ALBEMARLE — Almost three years after the investigation into Johnnie Junior Osborne’s murder began, the Stanly County Sheriff’s Office announced on Sept. 11, 2021, that they had made three arrests in the case.  

Cpt. Chris Huneycutt, who leads investigations for the Stanly County Sheriff’s Office’s, said the case took a while to conclude due to a combination of lack of information and bad information. 

“We would have periods where we’re not getting any information, and then we’d have tips we’d follow up on, and a lot of those through the years proved to be incorrect information,” Huneycutt said. “It was new information that we gained, in the last week to two weeks, that kind of helped this investigation develop.” 

Osborne, a 75-year-old resident of Norwood, was struck by multiple shots fired through his front door on Oct. 21, 2018. Two months later, after being hospitalized and suffering under his injuries, Osborne passed away on Dec. 20 at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.  

In the sheriff’s press release, they said Timothy Demond Wright, 34, of Albemarle; Johnny Wayne Wright, 26, of Albemarle; and Justin Ryan Farmer, 34, of Thomasville, would all be charged with first-degree murder and discharging a weapon into occupied property causing serious bodily injury.  

“I do not believe that Mr. Osburne and the offenders knew each other; however, it was not a random act,” Huneycutt said on why those arrested received first-degree murder charges.  

Huneycutt said that while that may seem contradictory, he couldn’t give more information at this time due to the sensitive nature of the case.  

The three are being held without bond at the Stanly County Ralph McSwain Detention Center and will have their initial court appearance Sept. 20, 2021. 

According to his obituary, Osborne was born in Stanly County in 1943, worked at Albemarle Spinning and had a large family in the area, including six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.  

The SCSO asks that anyone with further information on the case contact them. In 2018, the Stanly County Crime Stoppers approved a $2,500 reward “for anyone providing information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for Mr. Osborne’s death.” 

Even with the amount of time that has passed, Huneycutt said that if new information leads to additional arrests, “the reward money through Crime Stoppers should still be applicable.”