Paul man admits murdering
Steven Roger Johnson, 34, left, admitted to murdering his wife, Manya Johnson, 32, right, whose body was found in a White Bear Lake garage on Monday, Jan. 7, 2013. Paul husband in dismemberment case to get another plea hearingFeb 19:St. Paul man now charged with 1st degree murder in wife’s shooting, disme louboutin outlet mbermentFeb 5:St. Paul man set to plead in wife’s death, dismemberment; but prosecutor may up murder chargeJan 17:St. Paul man accused of slaying wife shopped for a better saw to cut up body, police sayJan 15:St. Paul: Slain woman’s friends start fund for toddler sonJan 10:Podcast: Reporters discuss Steven Roger Johnson murder caseJan 9:St. Paul: Wife trying to leave when husband shot her, sawed up body, charges sayJan 8:St. Paul man raped woman at 18, killed wife at 34, police sayWhite Bear Lake: Woman’s body found in garage; St. Paul husband arrested
A St. Paul man accused of shooting his wife in the head and then dismembering her body pleaded guilty Friday, March 8, to first degree premeditated murder and was sentenced to mandatory life in prison.
Steven Roger Johnson, 35, admitted he killed Manya Jewel Johnson on Jan. 6 with a gun he stole from her father after she told him she was leaving him. She said she would take their toddler son with her and keep him from getting custody, Johnson said.
Johnson described the day’s events in response to questions from his attorney, Connie Iversen. He said that he and Manya Johnson, 32, got into an argument. It started when she discovered a bottle of vodka in the car after they had returned from church. She didn’t like him drinking, he said.
He went to lunch with his family at Old Chicago for his sister’s birthday. Manya Johnson stayed home because it time for their son, Oliver, to nap.
The plan for the day was for the Johnson family to return to Steven and Manya’s Como Park home for cake and presents. When they got there, Manya Johnson said that she and Steven had dinner plans which wasn’t true, Steven Johnson said. At one point, Steven Johnson went to the basement, where he drank two shots of vodka and retrieved the stolen handgun from its hiding place. He stuck it in his back pocket to hide it from Manya.
He planned “to scare her,” Johnson said.
He went to the second floor of the house. Manya was in the guest bedroom. He stood in the bathroom doorway, he said. She didn’t see t louboutin outlet he gun. They continued to argue, and she threatened again to leave him.
“What did you decide to do?” Iversen asked.
“I decided to stop her from leaving,” he replied.
“How were you going to stop her?”
“Shoot her,” Johnson said.
He fired once, hitting her in the left temple.
“She fell on the floor. I rushed to her side,” Johnson said. “I took some towels. . My son was crying in the bedroom he had heard the shot.”
He brought Manya’s body in the bathroom and tended to Oliver.
Then, he said, “I decided I needed to cover up what I did.”
But bef louboutin outlet ore that, he ans louboutin outlet wered a call from Manya’s mother, Bonnie Twite, on Manya’s phone. He talked to her for about nine minutes, he said, to keep the routine of their daily check in.
He took Oliver and drove to Menards on University Avenue in St. Paul. Using $132.25 in cash so the purchase could not be traced, he said, he bought a saw, saw blades, bleach, garbage bags and rubber gloves.
“I proceeded to,” he paused, “dismember the body.”
He placed the body in bags and plastic bins and put them in his garage.
Johnson drove Manya’s car to the park and ride in Roseville where she usually left her car when she went to work, so that it would look as if she headed to her job at Target on Monday morning. He then rode his bike back home.
The time frame was not clear from Johnson’s testimony, but at some point Monday, he put the bins containing Manya’s body in his car and drove to his former prison mate Nathan Schram’s house in White Bear Lake. He left them in Schram’s garage, unbeknownst to Schram. He texted Schram on Monday to see if he could meet him for lunch; Schram said he was busy. Johnson told him what he had done. Schram called police, the criminal complaint said.