3 arrested in suspected murder for hire in Warren

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"I just had to say thank you God. I just had to say thank you God," said Jocelyn Johnson.

The heartbroken mother of 34-year-old Julii Johnson learned Thursday that three people accused of killing her daughter in Warren last month, are now in jail.

"I’m just so thankful to the detectives that worked on this crime. I am so thankful."

Forty-six-year-old Marcie Griffin of Eastpointe and her boyfriend, 58-year-old George Rider of Huntington Woods were arraigned on first degree murder charges.  Eric Gibson, 24, of Detroit, is being held in Wayne County and faces first degree murder and firearm charges.

“There was an orchestrated plan that - from what we could tell - was put together pretty elaborately," said Matt Nichols, Deputy Police Commissioner of Warren.

The case began January 13th when Julii Johnson was shot seven times outside her car. Warren police say it was a big whodunit: they had little information and no witnesses.

“This was just the result of exhaustive investigative work. The guys work around the clock – weekends and holidays – trying to put pieces together."

A big piece was video surveillance from an LA FITNESS. It shows a car belonging to one of the suspects, along with phone records, messages exchanged between the three, and a pair of tossed gloves with Gibson's DNA on them.

“That DNA matched up. There was also a firearm that was located between the business where the suspect vehicle was parked and the suspect walked to the victim's residence," said Nichols.

Police believe Eric Gibson actually pulled the trigger. They believe George Rider - an acquaintance - was the getaway driver, and that Marcie Griffin may have planned it all. She is the ex-girlfriend of Julii's then boyfriend. Julii's mother is simply baffled.

“Why would you hate my child that much, to have murdered my child?"

While appearing to be a murder-for-hire situation, police can't comment on whether money had been exchanged. They will say the evidence against all three is overwhelming.

While Julii's mother feels relief the three are caught, she still knows she will never get to see her beautiful daughter ever again.

“One day I’ll have to forgive you. It will just not be any time soon."