Santa Rosa Sheriff’s Office makes arrest in cold case murder

Posted on September 10, 2019 by Romi White

Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson, left, with Assistant State Attorney John Molchan (Photo by Romi White)

Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson during a press conference this morning announced that John Travis Palmer, 37, was arrested yesterday for the March 2015 killing of his roommate, Stephen Richmond Rice Jr, 44.

Palmer’s 9-9-2019 mugshot

Palmer’s first appearance for the first-degree homicide charge will take place via video at 12 noon at Santa Rosa County Jail.

The roommates resided at 4855 Persimmon Hollow Road in East Milton when Rice was found dead from a gunshot to the head, according to police.

Although Palmer was a suspect, he wasn’t charged. Johnson said recently tips emerged, providing leads in the case from three witnesses who said Palmer admitted to the murder.

“We never stop looking,” Johnson said of homicide cases.

Assistant State Attorney John Molchan joined Johnson at the press conference, stating a grand jury would take on the case and that Palmer would possibly face a life or death sentence in the case.