THE boyfriend of a 53-year-old woman whose daughters found her bound and gagged in her home has pleaded not guilty to her murder.
Fatima Johnson’s body was found on July 4, 2021, after her daughters became concerned when she missed work and wasn’t answering their text messages.
Johnson had allegedly been dead since July 2, with her body sitting in the apartment for days before being discovered.
Her hands had been tied up and her body was wrapped in a blanket.
The LA County Medical Examiner listed her cause of death as asphyxia, with smothering and neck pressure also potentially contributing.
Several neighbors reportedly told KTLA they saw an individual running away from the crime scene on July 2.
Johnson’s boyfriend Darryl Lamar Collins, 51, was taken into custody September 3 of 2021 and is being held without bail.
Collins was taken into custody and prosecutors approved the filing of a special circumstance filing.
When running for office, District Attorney George Gascon said that he would take away special circumstance convictions that would result in the death penalty or life without parole.
However now, with the Collins case, advocates say that Gascon is retracting that promise, with the DA saying that they plan to pursue life without parole due to Collins’ previous murder convictions.
“An internal committee of experienced attorneys with diverse backgrounds has reviewed the facts of this case and determined that, in this extremely rare instance, a policy deviation was warranted and approved the filing of a special circumstance allegation,” Gascón told KTLA.
“The facts of this case are extraordinary and demanded further review based on our charging policies.”
Collins was previously convicted with committing a double murder in 1998, which is what led to a special circumstance charge.
On July 21, Collins will be in court to determine if there is enough evidence against him to put him on trial for Johnson’s murder.
His special circumstance charge against Johnson rests on allegations that he had two prior convictions — one in 1992 for attempted robbery and one in 1998 for a double murder.
He was granted parole about one year before allegedly killing Johnson.
Collins is now facing a life sentence without the possibility of parole, should he be tried and convicted for Johnson’s murder.
However, on June 16 he emphasized his not guilty plea in front of a judge.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/5584711/update-in-the-murder-of-woman-53-found-bound-gagged/ Major update in the murder of woman, 53, found by her daughters bound, gagged and wrapped in a blanket