Ark. Party Leader Killer's Note A Mystery

In this June 23, 2007, photo, Arkansas' Democratic Party Chairman Bill Gwatney addresses his party's state convention in North Little Rock, Ark. AP Photo

Police said Tuesday they hadn't found any connection between slain Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman Bill Gwatney and a telephone number written with his last name on a Post-It note found in the home of the man who killed him.

The number did not match state party headquarters, Gwatney's home number, any of his three General Motors car dealerships or any cell phone police know of for him, said Little Rock police Lt. Terry Hastings. A subpoena has been issued to determine who owns the working Arkansas phone number, he said.

The note found at Timothy Dale Johnson's house is one of the few clues left that police hope will help them determine why Johnson drove 30 miles to Little Rock to shoot and kill Gwatney at state party headquarters Aug. 13. Johnson, 50, was shot and killed by police after a 30-mile chase into Grant County.

The telephone number "could be anything," Hastings said. "It could a salesman he talked to at Gwatney. It could be a friend's phone number. We just don't know."

Hastings said police will not release the number.

Johnson also had two sets of keys bearing Gwatney's dealership logo, but Hastings said investigators hadn't found the vehicles to which they belong.

"They're old keys. They probably don't go to anything anymore," he said. "The only vehicle he had was the truck and it didn't go to that."

Johnson owned at least 16 guns, had antidepressant pills and made out a will before shooting Gwatney, police documents said. He shot Gwatney soon after quitting his job at a Target store over some graffiti written on a store wall.

Police will also send a computer found at Johnson's home to a forensic lab and are working with the FBI to determine whether there is anything on it that may indicate why he targeted Gwatney, Hastings said.

Former President Clinton, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Gov. Mike Beebe were among the hundreds who attended Monday's funeral for Gwatney, who was a state senator for 10 years before becoming the state's Democratic chairman last year.

Beebe, a Democrat, is to pick Gwatney's replacement, and the governor said Tuesday he expects it will take several weeks to make that decision.
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