In Gaston County, North Carolina, Lucy Johnson was building a future.
The 31-year-old was a nurse and had two children. She was recently engaged to a man she met online three months into their whirlwind relationship. Less than three weeks after their first meeting, Johnson discovered she was pregnant with his child.
But later that summer, everything changed as a result of a fire that consumed Johnson's home. Johnson was found dead in an upstairs bedroom. After an autopsy, her death was ruled a homicide.
ABC News' "20/20" took a look at Johnson's past and followed the search her killer. Here is a timeline of events.
Lucy Johnson, seen here, was a nurse in the emergency room and a mother to a 7-year-old daughter and a 6-month-old son.
"She had a caring heart. She was a good person. She was a good friend," Johnson's friend Deana Bradshaw told ABC News' "20/20."
But, according to her uncle, Johnson made bad choices when it came to men.
"She had problems with men," Ken Dye told "20/20." Johnson's first husband, Phillip Okruhlica, was arrested on domestic violence charges when they were together.
Bradshaw said she witnessed one incident with Johnson’s second husband, Jim Johnson. “He had her cornered in a corner, drilling her like a sergeant, barking at her, verbally, loud,” Bradshaw said. “She was very afraid.”
Johnson and her ex-boyfriend Jim Spelock, the father of her son, broke up before the baby was born in 2007.
After their son's birth, the two argued in the recovery room about his name and were in and out of court fighting over custody and child support.
"If she wanted her way, she was going to get her way. That was Lucy," Dye said.
By the summer of 2008, Johnson was dating Mike Mead, 39, from Fort Mill, South Carolina, whom she met online.
Less than three weeks after meeting, Johnson revealed that she was pregnant with Mead's child.
Three months into their relationship, Mead gave Johnson an engagement ring and diamond earrings.
"We felt like, you know, we're going to be together, we're going to have this baby," Mead told "20/20." "Let's just do it."
In the early morning on July 18, 2008, Johnson's neighbors were awakened to the sight of her house, seen here, burning.
Though her children were safe at their fathers' homes, Johnson was found on her bed, dead with two gunshots to her head.
Investigators soon determined that the fire was the result of arson.
While Gaston County Police began investigating Johnson's death, her friends and family already had a suspect in mind.
"At the very, very beginning, I thought Jim Spelock had did it. Everyone did," Bradshaw, seen here, said.
"Spelock wasn't there at the funeral. He wasn't allowed there," Dye said.
"We was still thinking it was Spelock and was expecting him to be arrested any day."
However, six months after Johnson's death, her fiancé Mike Mead, seen here, was arrested and charged with burglary, rape, arson and first-degree murder.
"He didn't trust her," Eddie Meeks, one of the prosecutors assigned to the case, told "20/20."
"He didn't believe that he was the only man in her life."
Three years after Johnson's murder, Mead stood trial and faced the death penalty.
Mead's defense team used Johnson's journal, seen here, about her break up and custody battle with Spelock in their case as evidence.
Some of the jurors for the trial told "20/20" they were struck by Johnson's own words.
"She journaled that, 'If anything were to happen to me, Spelock did it,'" juror Linda Harmon told "20/20."
"I mean, she wrote it down."
On July 12, 2011, the jury announced that they found Mead, seen here, not guilty on all counts. The judge threw out the charges of rape and burglary.
Mead claims the trial ruined his life and has an open lawsuit against the Gaston County Police.
Despite public outcry to find justice for Johnson, Meeks contends to this day that he got that right man.
Police cleared Spelock of any wrongdoing.