COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KXRM) — A 29-year-old man was found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of his 17-year-old coworker, Riley Whitelaw.
A jury handed down a guilty verdict Wednesday against Joshua Johnson. After, 4th Judicial District Judge Eric Bentley sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The defense stated it intended to file an appeal of the conviction. Johnson did not make a statement.
Riley Whitelaw’s family speaks
Prior to sentencing, several people gave impact statements, including Riley’s mother, Courtenay Whitelaw, and her stepfather.
“She’s smart, artistic and loving. Riley has taught me so much as her mom, and I am so grateful to be her mom,” Courtenay Whitelaw said. “Never did we think her kindness would get her killed.”
“I will live for her and carry her for every moment of every day,” Courtenay Whitelaw said. “I pray that kindness and love will erase the evilness in this case.”
Robert and Pamela Whitelaw, the grandparents of Riley, also stood to make a statement.
“Riley was our only grandchild. … the light of our lives,” Robert Whitelaw said.
Bentley also spoke on the case.
“I hope that what the justice system can do in the process of this trial and sentencing can bring some closure,” the judge said. “Riley will continue to live on in you.”
Closing arguments were held on Wednesday. The trial started on Monday, Sept. 25.
On June 11, 2022, Whitelaw was found stabbed to death in the breakroom of the Walgreens on Centennial Boulevard in Colorado Springs.
Earlier this year, on June 30, Johnson was found competent to stand trial after the trial was delayed a second time due to the defense requesting a second competency evaluation.