8-10-12 Update: Calling the deaths of Lisa Straub and Johnny Clarke “barbaric to the extreme,” Lucas County Common Pleas Court Judge Dean Mandros sentenced a Toledo man Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The reward has doubled in the case of a young couple murdered on January 31, 2011. Twenty-one-year-old Johnny Clarke and 20 year-old Lisa Straub were found dead in her parents’ home in Springfield Township, OH, with wrists bound and plastic bags over their heads.
As the reward money grows to $15,000, Straub’s family is revealing what they believe happened that tragic morning.
Johny Clarke was talking to a friend on the phone at 11 p.m. on the night of the murder. He was supposed to go pick her up, according to the Toledo Blade. “He was telling her he was going out the door,” says his mom, Maytee Vasquez-Clarke, in her first 911 call at 1:21 a.m. “And all she heard was the phone drop and heard my son saying in the background, ‘Who are you? What do you want? What are you doing here?’”
“We’re still in shock, disbelief,” said Jim Verbosky, the uncle of Lisa Straub. He says the entire family is devastated and to make matters worse, he says there have been several rumors or published reports about the case that are just not true.
Detectives are saying the murders were likely a robbery gone bad. The house showed clear signs that someone had gone through it looking for something, but police won’t say what — if anything — was taken. But police have found a digital scale in the home, suggesting that Johnny was dealing dope.
In the meantime, detectives are also looking into whether Johnny made any enemies in prison. Daniel St. Clair, Quintwez Sanders and Johnny were busted in 2007 for robbing two different men in Toledo at gunpoint. Johnny was just 18 at the time.
He pleaded not contest to second-degree robbery and was given three years in the slam. But a year later, the judge granted him early release and placed him on probation for three years.
Relatives now believe the killers were looking for a safe that didn’t exist. Though holes were punched in the walls and rooms were tossed, the bad guys left behind jewelry, computers and TVs, leading relatives to believe they were looking for a bigger score
“There is no safe and there was no safe in that house. Part of the motive may have been robbery, but there is no safe and there was no safe in the house.”
Verbosky also says the family believes the killer or killers knew that Lisa’s parents were out of town, knew what time Lisa was getting out of work at the TGI Friday’s on Airport Highway, and knew how to get in the house. They feel the assailants knew the couple and planned it out.
Donations for reward money made to Fifth Third Bank branches in Lisa Straub’s memory have doubled in recent days. The fund is now up to $10,000 and the Lucas County Sheriff’s office has a $5,000 reward.
Straub’s family is confident the investigation and reward money will bring justice to the girl they loved.
“You know everybody talks and if somebody talks and said something, and they know somebody who may have some good credible piece of information that could solve this case, that’s certainly something that we are looking for,” Verbosky said.
If you have information that can assist detectives, you are urged to call Crimestopper at 419-255-1111.