ST. PAUL, Minn. - Charges of second degree murder were filed Wednesday against a St. Paul man accused of fatally shooting and dismembering his wife.
Steven Roger Johnson, age 34, made first appearance in Ramsey County Court Wednesday afternoon in connection with the Jan. 6 murder. His bail was set at $2 million.
St. Paul police were called to the home at 1416 Sheldon Avenue Jan. 7 to check on the welfare of 32-year-old Manya Johnson, the defendant's wife. When officers arrived they learned that police in White Bear Lake had received a call from a man telling them that Johnson's wife was dead, and her body stored in his garage.
While police were at the St. Paul residence, the defendant returned home with a co-worker of Manya Johnson and claimed they were searching for her after she failed to show up for work.
Johnson was immediately arrested. Authorities say he soon admitted that he shot Manya Johnson in the head with a handgun. He told officers the previous day after the two had argued and she had threatened to pack up their son and leave him.
Investigators say Steven Johnson confessed to dismembering his wife's body with a saw in the shower of their home, placing the pieces in storage bins and then hiding them inside his friend's garage in White Bear Lake.
"This horrific crime is an unfortunate example of how quickly domestic violence can turn into homicide," said Ramsey County Attorney John Choi. "We will pursue this case vigorously to ensure that justice is done for the victim and her community."
A friend and co-worker told KARE 11 Manya was always a happy kind-hearted person who had a contagious smile. According to her LinkedIn account, Manya was a manager of marketing operations for Target.
The couple's 18-month-old son is currently in a "safe place," according to Choi.
Steven Johnson was convicted of a brutal stranger rape in 1996, and served 12 years in a state prison. He was released in 2008, and married his wife the year after.
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