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Photos : Crystal Faye Todd
Crystal Fay Todd (17) was looking forward to graduation and beginning the rest
of her life outside of school.
Crystal's life was cut short by a psycopath she and her mother Bonnie had
allowed into their home, into their lives and called friend.
Photo: Bonnie Faye Todd Crystal Todd's yearbook photo
1991 June - Crystal's friend, Ken Register (18) (Johnnie Kenneth Register II)
graduates from High School.
1991- September 23 - Coastal Carolina College campus:
A young man drives up to two female students (17 & 18) asking them for directions.
As he speaks he plays with his genitals and starts to unfasten his pants. As the
two girls hurriedly leave, he raises himself up in the seat and waggles his sexual
organs at them.
Noting the license number from the vehicle, the girls provide it to police. The vehicle
is traced to Shirley Register, mother of Ken Register. She confirms that her son was
driving her vehicle.
Ken Register is picked out of a lineup and is arrested for indecent exposure. He is
released on $2,000 bond. A pretrial hearing is held. The charge is still pending.
His friends and neighbors are unaware of the events.
Photo: Ken Register & Crystal Todd
CRYSTAL TODD'S DISAPPEARANCE
1991 - November 16 - SATURDAY EVENING
Crystal Todd attends her grandmothers birthday party in Toddsville, S.C.
7:00 PM - Crystal leaves the party and drives to the mall.
8:00 PM - Crystal is in the parking lot chatting with a girlfriend.
9:00 PM - Crystal and the friend leave the mall and drive to a party at the home
of another friend.
9:30 PM - The two girls arrive at the friend's party.
11:00 PM Crystal and her friend leave the party and drive to the mall parking lot
where her friend had left her vehicle. The friend has an 11:15 curfew.
Crystal drives off - her curfew is 12:00 midnight.
11:20 PM- Crystal Faye Todd is last seen at the Coastal Mall downtown.
1991 - November 17 - SUNDAY MORNING
3:00 AM - Bonnie Todd calls 911 - Dispatcher asures Bonnie that it's not unusual for
teens to miss curfew times when they're having a good time. He asks
Bonnie to notify him when Crystal shows up.
8:00 AM - Sunday Morning - 911 Dispatcher receives another call from Bonnie Todd.
Crystal's vehicle was seen by Crystal's girlfriends parked at the Elm Street
side of the Conway Middle School.
Police officers are sent out to Bonnie Todd's residence.
Police officers at the school have found Crystal's car locked, her purse
inside. The car keys are missing.
A GRUESOME DISCOVERY
A pickup truck with two men drives down a dirt road off of Highway 813 outside of
Conway, S.C. Inside a heavily wood area the truck stops and the men climb out.
One notices something in a ditch nearby. Both men step over to look and find
what looks like it a badly mutiliated human female body. They promptly notify police.
THE CRIME SCENE
Horry County Chief of Police J. Gordon Harris, Homicide Detective Bill Knowles and
other police officers arrive and find at the scene:
A trail of blood running to the ditch
Signs of a struggle
The female victim's belt and blue jeans are unfastened and are pulled down
around her hips.
The shirt was pulled open and torn. The shirt and bra was pulled up exposing
her upper body.
The buttons from the shirt are missing.
A lot of blood upon the victim's face rendering it unrecognizeable.
A gaping 3-4 inch cut across the throat area with the throat slashed
Multiple stab and slash wounds in the breast and abdomen area; a
cut on the stomach, the victim had been disemboweled.
A school class ring on a finger of the victim.
Forensic: Crime scene photographs, blood samples, tire and shoe print
impressions; scrapings from under the victims fingernails are obtained.
The school class ring is engraved - Crystal Faye Todd
Police break the sad news to Bonnie Faye Todd who is inconsolable at the
loss of her only child.
1991 - November 18 - MONDAY
Newspapers report that Crystal Todd is found dead and suffered multiple stab wounds.
Police release minimal information regarding her death.
Bonnie Faye Todd "She was my whole life. I dont know that I'll make it without her.
I dont really want to." "I'm sure Crystal's killer is someone she knew and trusted."
Horry County posts a $5,000 reward & Horry County Crime Stoppers posts a $5,000
reward for any information that will lead to the killer of Crystal Todd.
Chief Harris "We cannot emphasize how serious and how strongly we consider
this particular crime to be. It's probably one of the most brutal that many of us
have seen in a long, long time."
"Crystal probably knew her killer. We do not feel that Crystal would have ridden
off with someone she did not know. She was not a person to take up with
someone she did not know. It was her habit, and it was not the norm for her.
Were looking at everyone as suspects and were eliminating them from that
point on. We do not have a prime suspect."
Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston
It is determined that Crystal had lived for several minutes after the attack and
had bled to death.
The autopsy determines Crystal Faye Todd had suffered:
Brutal mouth, vaginal and anal rape; bruises to her vaginal and rectal areas.
Semen- PGM subtype from a secretor is found in her mouth, vagina and
More than 30 cuts and stabs - 3 of which crushed her skull and 1 entered
7 bruises and 3 abrasions.
Her throat had been cut from ear to ear. There were stabs in a linear pattern
down her chest.
She had been disemboweled.
State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) agents Mike Anderson, Campbell Streater,
Ben Thomas and David Caldwell, Behavior analyst are called in to assist Horry
County. (Caldwell creates profiles of killers and crime scenes where there are
APPEAL TO THE PUBLIC
1991 - November 23 - Bonnie Todd appeals to the public to help find Crystal's killer.
Bonnie Todd "If I knew somebody had done something like this, I'd tell on
them so they could get him before he gets somebody else. I wouldn't want to
see anybody else's daughter dead. I miss Crystal very much and I can't stop
thinking about her. She's never been away from me very much. We've always
been together. I tell everyone to be careful because theres a maniac still out
there. We don't know who that devil is. If they don't catch him, he's liable to
get somebody else."
Fear is rampant in Horry County among students at the school and among parents
in the community.
A friend of Crystal Todd, Ken Register is a constant visitor to Bonnie Todd and
consoles her when she cries over the loss of Crystal, and the brutal way she was
Ken Register is present at Bonnie Todd's home more than he ever visited when
Crystal was alive.
Bonnie asks several close friends of Crystal to be pallbearers at the funeral.
Ken Register is one of those asked, and he agrees to be a pallbearer for his
Police interview schoolmates and other citizens of the county. They ask for a
voluntary knife inspection. Citizens are helpful and cooperative. None of the
knives they inspect match the crime.
The funeral generates a huge turnout of Crystal's friends and classmates and
people of the town and county. Ken Register is a pallbearer for Crystal Faye
Todd. After the funeral he continues to visit Bonnie Todd.
1992 -January 1992 -
Andrew Von Tyndall (31) is questioned regarding the murder and blood samples are
taken. Testing for DNA rules him out.
1992 - January 13 - Police are continuing to investigate Crystal's friends, former
boyfriends and even acquaintances.
Ken Register is nervous because police want blood samples.
He voluntarily consents to blood, saliva, head and pubic hair samples, fingerprints
and palm prints being taken. He also provides a written statement of his movements
on the night of Crystal's murder.
After his blood sample is taken, Ken Register doesn't visit Bonnie Todd anymore.
1992 - February 15 - Detective Bill Knowles is notified by SLED that a perfect DNA
match has been made. It is Ken Register.
1992 - February 18 -
Police are at Ken Register's place of employment. Register reads and signs the
statement he made on January 13, 1992. Then he is handcuffed and read his
Miranda rights, the murder warrant and other warrants for the kidnapping, rape
and murder of Crystal Faye Todd.
10:20 AM - 1:30 PM - Ken Register is interviewed. Repeatedly he asks
to speak, not to a lawyer, but to his mother.
2:20 PM - Police tell Ken Register they've spoken to his mother.
The Detectives continue to interview Register. He answers
questions regarding his family, his current 14 year old girlfriend,
and most of all, his movements on the night of Crystal's murder.
3:00 PM - Ken Register confesses to murdering Crystal Faye Todd.
Ken Register tells police his version of what occurred: He and Crystal drove to a
rural area and had consensual sex without protection. Crystal was furious because
he ejaculated and screamed and threatened that if she became pregnant she would
accuse him of rape.
He claims that Crystal's screaming made him angry, so angry he felt he'd do anything
to stop her. He took a knife he kept in his vehicle and began stabbing her. He further
claims that after he realized what he had done, he dragged her from his car into a
ditch, threw away his knife and then drove home.
SEARCH OF THE REGISTER HOME
A warrant is served and police find:
A Case knife.
A long camoflage knife with sheath.
Newspaper articles regarding Crystal's death clipped and hidden within the
A green army blanket with hair and fiber samples
Fibert samples from: a pair of red socks, a green shirt, two sweaters.
Police later serve a second warrant. They retrieve a pocketnife box that was
missed/unnoticed during the first search.
1992 - April 16 - Johnnie Kenneth Register II is indicted for Crystal Todd's murder.
Prosecutors intend to seek the Death Penalty.
The news spread through the community like wildfire. No one is in more shock and
disbelief than Bonnie Todd.
Bonnie Todd "He's been our friend for years and years, hee was everybody's friend
around here. I said, Ken, you don't have to worry about your blood test. You didn't do
it. He's the only one I said that to."
1992 - September 21 - Ken Register is tried and convicted on pending indecent
Judge denies motion to suppress DNA evidence.
Judge rules Ken Register "had freely and voluntarily confessed, that he had
been properly advised of and understood his Miranda rights, and that he had
knowingly and intelligently waived his rights to remain silent and to have
counsel present with him during custodial questioning."
1993 - January 11 - Kenneth Register is brought from jail for trial.
Evidence and testimony presented:
Crystal Todd's injuries were inflicted by a blade the size of and Old-Timer knife.
A friend of Ken Register testifies that Ken Register normally carried an Old-Timer
Ken Register had his car professionally cleaned twice just after the murder. He
had new tires put on the vehicle.
Despite his efforts, forensic blood evidence was found on the steering wheel,
gear stick and the door handles of the vehicle.
Ken Register's account(s) of where he had been that night were inconsistent.
Co-workers testified that Ken Register had described to them Crystal Todd's
injuries in "sexual terms", that she had been cut from her throat to her vagina
and stabbed in the head.
Police testified that those details Ken Register spoke of had not released
to anyone in the public. Only the killer of Crystal Todd would know them.
In Ken Register's confession he had spoke of dragging Crystal's body.
Drag marks extending from the pool of blood on the dirt road to her body
in the ditch match his statement.
Forensic testimony - Serological evidence: Ken Register's blood is a rare PGM subtype
and is a "secretor." The expert testifies "There is a 1 in 250 million chance this
would happen." Ken Register's semen matched the semen found in Crystal Todd's body.
TAKING THE STAND IN HIS OWN DEFENSE
Ken Register testifies on the stand. He denies kidnapping, raping and murdering
Ken Register is unanimously convicted of criminal sexual conduct, kidnapping, rape,
and the torture murder of Crystal Faye Todd.
Count 1 - Murder - Guilty
Count 2 - Criminal Sexual conduct in 1st degree - Guilty
Count 3 - Kidnapping - Guilty
Count 4 - Buggery and sodomy - Guilty
The Defense argues against the Death Penalty and for a Life sentence.
The Prosecution argues for the Death Penalty. The crime is a heinous and
horrific one. Any woman who had gotten into his car that night would have
suffered what Crystal Faye Todd had suffered.
VICTIM'S IMPACT STATMENT
Bonnie Todd "I'd rather be dead than sitting here. I'd crawl in the grave now
and let her have every thing I had." "I've got nothing left."
Bonnie Todd "He needs something worse than the electric chair. He deserves
just what she (Crystal) got."
1993 - January 26 - Life in Prison + 35 years. The citizens of the Jury recommend
that Johnnie Kenneth "Ken" Register II spend the rest of his
natural life in prison.
Ken Register is incarcerated in the Allendale Correctional Institution in Allendale, SC.
during the Appeals Process.
1993 Prison Photo: Ken Register 2008 Prison Photo: Ken Register
Although the citizens of the Jury recommended Register spend the rest of his days in
prison, he will be ELIGIBLE FOR PAROLE. Due to the heinous nature of the
crimes it's unlikely the parole board will grant it.
Ken Register's Projected Parole Date: February 18, 2022
If released he will be eligible for "Supervised Furlough" which means he will be
supervised by the Parole dept. In addition he will be placed on the Sex Offender
Johnnie Kenneth Register was later transported to Broad River Correctional Institution,
Columbia, South Carolina where he is currently (as of 2009) incarcerated.
1995 - Johnnie Kenneth "Ken" Register II 's appeal to the State Supreme Court was
reviewed. All counts were upheld.
1997 - The United States Supreme Court refused to hear his case, ruling
that his appeal lacked merit.
2003-MO-073 - Johnnie K. Register v. State - Pending
2003 - Dec- Petition for rehearing
2004 -January 6 - Petition filed 2003 -DENIED
2006 - Johnnie K. Register, Appellant Pro Se. Donald John Zelenka, Derrick K. McFarland, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF SOUTH CAROLINA, Columbia, South Carolina, for Appellee
Register is DENIED a certificate of appealability and the appeal is DISMISSED.
2006 - November 6 -
JOHNNIE K. REGISTER, Petitioner - Appellant, versus JONATHAN E. OZMINT; HENRY MCMASTER, South Carolina Attorney General
Respondents - Appellees.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, at Rock
Hill. Henry M. Herlong, Jr., District Judge. (CA-04-2354-HFF)
Submitted: October 20, 2006
Decided: November 6, 2006
Before WILLIAMS, MICHAEL, and SHEDD, Circuit Judges.
Dismissed by unpublished per curiam opinion.
*Although Ken Register's girlfriend visited Ken Register at the prison at Ken's
parent's urging, she sent him a dear john letter telling him she was moving
forward with her life.
* At age 15, Ken Register was making threatening and obscene phone calls.
The description of what he intended to do to the women he threatened verbally
was a prelude for what happened to Crystal Todd. His actions were reported
to the police and the case was turned over to the Dept. of Youth Services
due to his age.