William Reece, charged with serial killings in the Houston area, returns to Friendswood to face charges of three murders

FRIENDSWOOD, Texas (KTRK) — A 62-year-old man accused of the serial murder of a woman and two girls in the Houston area is being brought back to Texas in hopes of getting justice for his families 25 years later.

William Reece is accused of killing a 12-year-old Laura Smithtwenty years old Kelly Cox and 17 years old Jessica Cain in 1997.

In May 2021, Reece was convicted of first-degree murder and kidnapping 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. He was sentenced to death for murder and incarcerated on Oklahoma’s death row.

Now officials say Reece will be charged in the deaths of Smither, Cain and Cox. Friendswood Police confirm the killer is on his way back to Texas and is being held at the Friendswood Jail.

Galveston County Criminal Investigation District Attorney Jack Roady issued a statement that reads in part: “William Lewis Reece is being transported from Oklahoma to Texas to stand trial for his crimes in Galveston and Brazoria counties. Reece was charged in Galveston County with the murders of Laura Kate Smither and Jessica Cain and in Brazoria County with the capital murder of Kelli Cox. The Galveston County District Attorney’s Office is working closely with the Brazoria County District Attorney’s Office, and both intend to vigorously prosecute Reece and hold him accountable under the law.”

SEE ALSO: Accused serial killer with ties to Houston found guilty of kidnapping and murdering an Oklahoma teenager

Johnston, Cox, Cain, and Smither all disappeared over a four-month period in 1997 after Reece was released from an Oklahoma prison on previous rape and kidnapping charges. Smither was from Friendswood and Cain from Tiki Island. Cox was from Denton, Texas.

On the morning of April 3, 1997, Smither left her family home to go jogging and never returned. The 12-year-old’s body was found about two weeks later near a detention pond in Pasadena.

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

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

The video shown above is from a previous report.

Copyright © 2022 KTRK-TV. All rights reserved. William Reece, charged with serial killings in the Houston area, returns to Friendswood to face charges of three murders

Dais Johnston

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