It's been 43 years, but a witness to the killing suspected to have been committed by a well-known New Orleans street performer said he now has some closure.
"I used to wonder: 'Did they ever catch the killer?" said Tony Mitchell in a report with WJAX.
60-year-old Johnie Miller, a French Quarter fixture known as 'Uncle Louie', has been jailed in the murder after evidence linked him to the shooting of a Jacksonville, Florida convenience store clerk in 1974. Miller is known for portraying a statue while wearing an Uncle Sam-like costume and holding a leashed, stuffed dog.
Mitchell told the TV station he knew the slain store owner, Fred Farah, as a child and that he was in the store when Miller allegedly entered and shot him during a robbery.
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"They telling us to go there over by the freezer, turn our heads, grab what we want then get out the store as fast as possible," Mitchell told WJAX.
Farah, who was standing behind a counter next to another man, was gunned down as he began moving away from the cash register.
"We got some closure now. After all these years," Mitchell said, remembering the slain father of four. "All these years gone went by. The man lived his life, but Fred didn't get a chance to live his life."
Miller — who once lived in Jacksonville, according to public records — is being held in New Orleans without bail and is tentatively scheduled to appear in Orleans Parish Criminal District Court for an extradition hearing on June 26.
The street performer known as "Uncle Louie" has been a French Quarter fixture for more than …
Witnesses said that Farah's killer immediately ran out of the store, leaving behind all of the store's cash and goods. First responders took Farah to a hospital, where he died.
Staff writer Ramon Antonio Vargas contributed to this report.