Family friend arrested for 2019 murder, son speaks for first time since arrest



BALD KNOB, Ark.- An Arkansas man arrested in connection to a murder in 2019.

Court documents show William Johnson shot and killed Philip Pratt on his own property with his own gun.

Now Pratt’s son, also named Philip Pratt, is speaking for the first time since the arrest.

“I know if it wasn’t for David Lucas then he would have never been found. He always called me and he told me, I’m going to find out who killed your dad and he did,” said Philip Pratt, Son of Victim,

Philip said Johnson was one of his dad’s oldest friends.

“I don’t know what to think about it, it’s just all messed up,” said Philip.

Recently, William Johnson, also known as Bill, was arrested in the shooting death of 56-year-old Philip Pratt.

Court documents show Johnson’s DNA was matched to a marijuana cigarette found near the body.

“The weird thing about all of it is, Bill was like his best friend. As a matter of fact, when I would look for my dad after work Bill would come out and helped me look for him,” said Philip.

Pratt was missing for three days before his body was found and Johnson was the first person his son called.

“He come out to the house he was acting really strange when he was helping me look for him, he had a lot of anger it seemed like,” said Philip.

However, Johnson’s involvement didn’t stop there.

“He even came to my dad’s funeral and sent bigger flowers than anybody,” said Philip,

Court documents show Johnson and Pratt got into an argument over a pistol. Johnson is quoted saying, he didn’t think Pratt needed to be around anymore so he shot him four times.

“I feel relieved. Its kind of like this whole thing has really opened up a wound because I think about him every day,” said Philip.

Philip said throughout this last year, Jackson County Sheriff David Lucas kept him in the loop with the investigation. So he can’t thank Lucas enough for finding his dad’s killer.

“One thing my dad always told me is when stuff would happen or go wrong. He would look at me and say son everything is going to be alright. I know that everything is going to be alright,” said Philip.

Philip said he is glad justice is being served but it still doesn’t bring back his dad.

As for Johnson, if convicted he could face 10 to 40 years in prison.


JACKSON COUNTY, Ark. — On the backroads of Bradford, the trees stretch over the road, barbed wire lines private property and the rain is the only disturbance, at least, it was. 

“Everybody’s just shook up right now.”

Over the weekend Philip Pratt, 56 went missing. 

“Both vehicles were home, his phone was there and he was just gone,” His son, also named Philip Pratt said.  

His son joined his family in the search, until Tuesday when he got a call from his stepmom saying his father had been found. 

“The police had said that he had been shot around 5 times,” he said. 

The son says his father was found near a gate on County Road 6 in Jackson County. His father, stepmother and her son live in a home nearby. 

“It almost looked like he was getting out to open the gate for somebody and somebody shot him,” the son said. 

“I think that whoever did it was somebody that he had trusted.”

The Sheriff’s Office and Arkansas State Police are now investigating the homicide.

“I’ll just miss talking to him every day mostly because he was my best friend,” he said. 

Losing his father comes just two weeks after losing his mother. She died of a heart attack. 

“I believe in God and sometimes you know when hard things happen you think, you know, why is this happening to me all at once?”

Grappling with the most difficult questions, as law enforcement searches for a killer. 

Pratt’s body has been sent to the Arkansas State Crime Lab for an autopsy. 

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