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GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Three murders in two months are being connected to one man, court records show. 

Greensboro Police Department has charged John Richardson, 53, with three counts of first-degree murder for three separate homicides that range from early February to late March. He’s charged in the February 1 death of Michael Hemphill, who was shot on Yanceyville Street in late January, the March 10 murder of Mark Anthony Gilbert Jr., who was found on West Terrell Street and the March 25 disappearance of James Goolsby, whose body was found in Virginia in mid-April.

The DA’s office is currently trying to determine if Richardson is connected to additional homicides. The FBI defines a serial murderer as “the unlawful killing of two of more victims by the same offender(s) in separate events.”

John Richardson (Greensboro Police Department)
John Richardson (Greensboro Police Department)

January 25th

Police found Michael Antown Hemphill, 46, on the 3200 block of Yanceyville Street. He had been shot. A 911 caller indicated that they believed he had been shot in the head. He was taken to the hospital and around a week later, on February 1, he died from his injuries. The investigation was upgraded to homicide. 

March 10th

Mark Anthony Gilbert Jr. was found injured after what police called a “disorder.” A 911 caller said that he was being beaten and was lying near a dumpster.

Gilbert Jr. died later on the day of March 10, upgrading the investigation to homicide. Court documents allege that Richardson took Gilbert’s car, phone and wallet.

March 28

James Devon Goolsby was reported missing after last being seen in the 1000 block of Summit Avenue on March 25.

Over the course of the investigation, detectives say they began to suspect foul play in his disappearance.

April 5

John Richardson was booked into the Guilford County Jail and charged with the following:

  • Two counts of possessing a firearm by a felon
  • Misdemeanor conspiracy
  • Carrying a concealed weapon
  • Felony manufacturing or possessing a weapon of mass destruction
  • Felony receiving stolen vehicles 

Officers obtained a search warrant and searched Richardson’s Byers Road home initially on April 5. They returned on April 6 and dozens of officers searched the home. A search warrant indicated that two firearms, knives, ammunition and a hatchet were among the items found.

April 8

Jonathan Murphy
Jonathan Murphy

Jonathan Murphy, 38, of Greensboro, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the death of Hemphill, as well as possession of a firearm by a felon. 

Court documents indicate that text messages between Murphy and Richardson connected them in the homicide. 

April 13

Richardson was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Michael Hemphill. 

April 14

Detectives received information that Goolsby’s body was in Henry County, Virginia. With the assistance of the Henry County Sheriff’s Office, detectives say they located Goolsby’s remains. The Henry County Sheriff’s Department says that the remains had been dropped into the Mayo River from a bridge on George Taylor Road in Spencer, Virginia.

April 19

Richardson was charged with the following in the death of Mark Gilbert Jr:

  • First-degree murder
  • Possessing a firearm by a felon

April 22

Richardson was charged with the following in the death of James Goolsby:

  • First-degree murder
  • Possessing a firearm by a felon
  • Felony robbery with a dangerous weapon 
  • Two counts of felony concealment of death/tampering with a corpse

Warrants indicate that some of the charges stem from allegedly dismembering human remains.

Anyone who has information about this case is asked to contact Greensboro/Guilford Crime Stoppers at (336) 373-1000.