Steven Johnson accused of murdering wife in St. Paul, dismembering her with saw [UPDATE]

Police say Steven Johnson confessed to murdering his wife, Manya (lower left).
Police say Steven Johnson confessed to murdering his wife, Manya (lower left).

:::: SEE ALSO: Steven Johnson rape details: Man who dismembered wife lured 1996 victim with pot ::::

Original post published 11:57 a.m. on January 8 -- The body of 32-year-old Manya Johnson was found yesterday in a White Bear Lake garage, and Steven Johnson, 35, has been arrested in connection with her homicide.

According to the Star Tribune's Chao Xiong, the two were married.

From a Star Tribune report:

According to St. Paul Police Sgt. Paul Paulos, a concerned party called White Bear Lake police to a house in the 2200 block of 8th Street on Monday afternoon, where they found the woman's body.

White Bear Lake police then asked St. Paul police to check a home in the 1400 block of Sheldon Street in St. Paul. Police questioned [Johnson] and placed him under arrest.

Police declined to release any information about how the woman was killed or how long she had been dead

The Pioneer Press, citing St. Paul police spokesman Paul Paulos, reports that Manya Johnson was actually killed in St. Paul. Johnson is a St. Paul resident.

It's unclear how Manya's body got to White Bear Lake, as is the identity of the White Bear "concerned party" who called police to report there was a dead body in his or her garage.

Steven Johnson recently served 12 years in prison following a conviction for aiding and abetting first-degree criminal sexual conduct. The PiPress provides some details:

Johnson got out of prison in February 2008 on intensive-supervised release, which expires in November 2013, according to Minnesota Department of Corrections records.

Johnson was sentenced to "a double durational departure from the presumptive guidelines sentence" in the case based on aggravating factors, according to a Minnesota Court of Appeals opinion that upheld Johnson's sentence.

The factors included restraint of the victim resulting in injury, references to a weapon, "significant advance planning," "particular cruelty by forcing the victim to be nude in 50-degree temperatures, and the length of the assault," the opinion said.

More detail about what exactly Johnson did to his victim in the 1996 case isn't currently available [see the update].

As of late this morning, Johnson hasn't yet been charged with a crime, though the Strib reports that could happen as soon as today.

:::: UPDATE ::::

January 9, 12:07 p.m. -- Johnson has now been charged with second-degree intentional murder in connection with his wife's death, and grisly details about her murder are emerging.

After his arrest, Johnson told police that on Sunday, Manya said she was leaving him and taking their young son with her. He had been drinking and ended up fatally shooting his wife in the head with a handgun. Johnson then used a saw to dismember her body in the shower and placed Manya's remains in plastic bins he then transported to a friend's garage in White Bear Lake.

Somehow, Johnson stashed the bins in the garage without his friend's knowledge, but he later called his friend to inform him about what he'd done. His friend then informed police, and Johnson was subsequently arrested.

The criminal complaint also provides more information about Johnson's 1996 conviction:

On December 6, 1996, the Defendant was convicted of Criminal Sexual Conduct in the First Degree in Anoka County District Court... The criminal complaint filed in that case states that the Defendant and an accomplice forced vaginal and oral sexual penetration on a female after handcuffing her and confining her against her will in a vehicle driven by the Defendant. The complaint states that the Defendant threatened to kill her during the sexual assault and suggested that he had a gun. The victim in that case suffered observable injuries as a result of the sexual assault.

Mayna Johnson had a master's degree in counseling psychology and worked at Target Corp. the Pioneer Press reports.

Steven Johnson is being held on $2 million bail. He could still face a first-degree murder charge, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi told WCCO.

Sponsor Content


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >