Man pleads guilty in cold case murder of Oceanway woman

Johnny Johnson sentenced to 20.5 years in Sherry Prather's death


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A mother told News4Jax on Tuesday that she can finally rest five years after her 43-year-old daughter was murdered.

On Monday, the man charged in the 2012 murder of Sherry Prather pleaded guilty in the case.

Johnny Johnson, 43, was sentenced to 20 ½ years in prison as part of a plea deal that satisfied Prather's family.

"I can finally lay down and say my daughter is with Jesus," said Norma Ellis, Prather's mother.

Prather, a mother of two, was celebrating a girls' night out at the Boots N Bottles, a bar in the Oceanway area on Jacksonville's Northside, in 2012 when she disappeared.

Ellis searched the city for 31 days after her daughter's disappearance. 

"I looked for every single day," she said. "I always said, 'I will never leave ... until I find peace for you, baby. You are my baby and I will find peace for you before I leave.' And I meant that. I was going to do (that) if I had to do it myself."

Her daughter was last seen riding off on a motorcycle with an unknown man. A year later, police discovered her remains in the woods after getting a tip from a relative of her killer.

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