Runners gathered to remember David Stevens last October. Photo by Rasy Ran

Runners gathered to remember David Stevens last October. Photo by Rasy Ran

Lake Highlands is still haunted by October 2015 murder of David Stevens, a 53-year-old man minding his own business, running along the White Rock Creek Trail near the popular Moss Park.

This week the man who randomly murdered Stevens with a machete — Thomas Johnson, who does not deny the act — was ruled mentally unfit to stand trial for murder.

Suspect Thomas Johnson

Suspect Thomas Johnson

Johnson — who turned himself in immediately after hatcheting Stevens, and who reportedly told passersby and first responders that he had just “committed capital murder” — has a documented history of schizophrenia.

The ruling only addresses whether he will be able to stand trial at this time, one of Johnson’s attorney’s told WFAA. It makes no determination about his mental state at the time of the crime. He is being transferred to North Texas State Hospital for six months of assessment, or until he is able to understand the charges against him, attorney Jennifer Balido says.

A few days after the incident, Stevens’ wife took her own life.

In late October, members of the Dallas running community, none of whom actually knew Stevens, gathered to honor him, because as runners, they said, they felt they shared a special bond with the victim.

A local attorney who was touched by Stevens’ story and makeshift memorials under the Walnut Hill bridge is fundraising to build a permanent memento in the man’s memory.

More coverage of the David Stevens case here.


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