CRIME
09/26/2013 05:09 pm ET

Judy Weaver, Florida Mom, Helps Solve Son's Alleged Murder 8 Years After His Death

A mother's eight-year effort to uncover the alleged murder of her son -- who was long thought to have died -- has led to an arrest.

On Monday, Police in Florida charged Jason Gailey, 33, with second-degree murder for the 2005 death of Ronald Johnson, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Years ago, eyewitnesses told investigators that Johnson was doing tricks on his bike when he crashed and hit his head on a concrete sidewalk. The victim's mother, Judy Weaver, always suspected foul play.

"[The witnesses] were intimidated. [Gailey] was known to carry a firearm. They didn't feel safe in coming forward and being straight forward with the truth," said Mike Ruggiero of the Orange County Sheriff's Office, according to WFTV.

Weaver eventually managed to wrangle a partial confession from Gailey, who told her that he "accidentally hit Ronnie with his fist," according to ABC News.

Her persistence then persuaded those witnesses to come forward and prompted law enforcement to reopen the investigation. They discovered that Johnson had attempted to remove Gailey from a fight when the suspect hit him in the head with a gun.

"I'm just kind of numb. I'm very much relieved," Weaver told ABC News. "I feel relieved that Jason isn't out there running the streets, and he is going to have to be accountable ... The world is a safer place without him in it."

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