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Indiana Man Sentenced For Homicide, Robbery After Targeting LGBTQ Community In Metro Detroit

(CBS DETROIT) -- An Indiana man who was accused of using a dating app to target members of the LGBTQ community is sentenced to more than 20 years in prison for killing a man and robbing another in Metro Detroit.

Diabolique Paris Johnson, 35, is sentenced to 25 to 45 years for second-degree murder and two years for felony firearm. He was also sentenced to 15 to 30 years for armed robbery, which is to be served concurrent to the murder charge.

He pleaded guilty to the charges in June.

Prosecutors say Johnson robbed a 26-year-old man on Sept. 1, 2020, in Dearborn, before killing 39-year-old Joshua Smelser four days later during an armed robbery in Detroit.  

He was arrested in Indiana following a two-month investigation.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel partnered with Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy and Fair Michigan Justice Project, which assists law enforcement officers and prosecutors in the state in solving serious crimes against the LGBTQ community.

"It is important to continue to acknowledge that crimes against the LBGTQ community are ignored and are not thoroughly investigated.  This is no longer the case in Wayne County thanks to our partnership formed in 2016 with Fair Michigan Justice Project," Worthy said in a statement. "Police agencies in Detroit, Dearborn and Indianapolis, IN, worked together to investigate this case and to bring Defendant Johnson to justice. This is a significant conviction for the project," said Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy."

Alanna Maguire, president of the Fair Michigan Project, said, "This case shows how important community partnerships can be in securing justice for victims from marginalized communities.  We are proud to work with Prosecutor Worthy and Attorney General Nessel, and we hope this sentence brings some measure of comfort to the family of Joshua Smelser."

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