Monday, July 18, 2011

Beaten, raped Jacksonville woman, 83, gave attacker's details before dying


Christopher Lemar Johnson is charged in the slaying of Emma Jean Beasley.

A dying 83-year-old Jacksonville woman gave her daughter a brief description of the man who raped and beat her after breaking into her home Saturday, Jacksonville police said today.

Christopher Lemar Johnson, 20, is charged in the slaying of Emma Jean Beasley, police said. Johnson was arrested Monday. Police arrested him based on witness identifications - though not the victim's - and fingerprints found at the scene, an arrest report said.

"They [investigators] did a super, super job," said Geneva Griffin, the mother of Beasley's son-in-law, Danny Griffin. "Thank God."

Johnson's family expressed disbelief in the charges after he appeared in court Tuesday morning. Geneva Griffin's response: "We'll let the law take care of that."

Johnson, of the 7200 block of Colonial Creek Court, is charged with murder, armed sexual battery, armed robbery and burglary with an assault. He is being held without bail.

Court records show Johnson has prior arrests for trespassing, criminal mischief and defrauding an innkeeper. His arrest report lists him as unemployed and a former student at First Coast High.

Police said Beasley was surprised by a burglar who broke into her home in the 7000 block of Civic Club Road between 2 and 5 p.m. Saturday when her daughter and son-in-law were gone. Beasley had lived with the couple for about 10 years but did not often venture out.

Police do not believe the burglar knew Beasley was home at the time, said Lt. Rob Schoonover of the Sheriff's Office.

Investigators found that a large amount of change was stolen from a jar in the home. Jewelry and a black Harley Davidson T-shirt were also missing, the arrest report said.

Beasley was beaten with a blunt object, said Schoonover, who called the killing a "brutal, heinous crime."

"Any death or crime is horrible, but when it involves a child or an elderly person who basically can't defend themselves, it hits home. It's sad," Schoonover said.
The arrest report released Tuesday morning said the victim was able to tell her daughter she was raped by someone who was black. No other details were listed. Beasley was unable to give police any information before she was taken to Shands Jacksonville hospital, where she died, Schoonover said.

Police found a stranger's bloody white T-shirt on the floor next to the victim. Police also spoke with a witness who saw a man entering the home and later identified him as Johnson, the report said. Other witnesses also provided police with information about Johnson.

Fingerprints found at the scene also matched Johnson's, Schoonover said. Johnson was spotted by police on Moncrief Road West and arrested without incident. Schoonover said Johnson lived about a mile from the crime scene and was known to roam in the area. Several of his previous arrests occurred near his home, records show.

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