An arrest has been made in the murder case of D’Asia Johnson, the 22-year-old woman found dismembered and stuffed in suitcases left inside a Brooklyn apartment in September.
Police arrested Justin Williams, 24, on charges of murder and concealment of a human corpse on Monday, nearly seven weeks after Johnson was discovered. The Harlem man, previously identified by sources as the victim’s boyfriend, had been questioned by authorities last month in her killing, sources had said.
Security at the Linwood Apartments in East New York went to check on Johnson Sept. 21 in her sixth-floor apartment after not seeing her for about a month, law enforcement sources have said. It’s not clear what prompted them to check that day, but a senior NYPD official said security encountered someone believed to be her boyfriend.
That man wouldn’t let them inside, the senior official said, and security said they’d call the cops to gain access. He and another man left the apartment once security officers walked away, building surveillance showed, and one of the men was carrying a black duffel bag, the senior NYPD official said. Security saw them leave and went back to the apartment.
That’s when they encountered a horror scene — blood in the bathtub, a meat cleaver and a horrible stench — and called 911, according to the senior NYPD official.
Investigators obtained a search warrant for the apartment. In it were found two suitcases with apparent human remains. It wasn’t clear if there was a whole body.
From the early days of their investigation, police did not believe it was a random attack. The senior NYPD official said Williams had an active order of protection against him related to her.
A neighbor who lives on the sixth floor told NBC New York that he would regularly hear commotion from the apartment where the suitcases were found, and that police had visited several times.
“A lot of fighting. Arguing, like I said,” said the neighbor who only gave his first name, Jeremy. “You hear arguing, banging, loud stuff, regular stuff. But you can’t — like I said, if you try to interrupt and stuff, you’re putting yourself in a problem you can’t solve.”