Minn.ex-con charged in murder, dismemberment of wife

Steven Johnson
CBS Minnesota

(CBS) ST. PAUL, Minn. - Steven Roger Johnson, a 35-year-old man accused of killing his wife and leaving her body in a friend's garage, is charged with intentional second-degree murder, CBS Minnesota reports.

According to the charges, Johnson, of St. Paul, shot his wife in the head with a shotgun on Jan. 6 and then used a saw to dismember her body in the shower, placing her in several storage bins. Johnson said he proceeded to clean up his home to hide the evidence, CBS Minnesota reports.

Police say he brought those bins to a friend's garage in White Bear Lake, without that friend knowing. Johnson later told the friend what he did.

The complaint states police were dispatched to a St. Paul home to check on the welfare of Johnson's wife, later identified as 32-year-old Manya Jewel Johnson.

When police arrived, they were advised that a man in White Bear Lake had called police stating the woman was dead and that Johnson had placed her body in his garage.

While police were at the St. Paul residence, Johnson returned to the home with a co-worker of Manya Johnson, claiming to be looking for her since she didn't show up at work, CBS Minnesota reports.

Officers immediately detained Steven Johnson for questioning, the station says. According to the station, he ultimately admitted to police he murdered his wife after the two had an argument on Sunday.

He told police his wife said she was leaving him and was taking their 18-month old son with her. He admitted he had been drinking, CBS Minnesota reports.

The Ramsey County Medical Examiner's report confirmed the cause of death as homicide due to an "intermediate range" gunshot would to the head.

According to CBS Minnesota, Steven Johnson was previously convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct on Dec. 6, 1996. According to the complaint in that case, he and an accomplice raped a woman after handcuffing her and confining her in a vehicle against her will. Johnson was driving the vehicle and had threatened to kill her, according to the complaint obtained by the station. He was in prison for that crime until February 2008. He married Manya Johnson a year later.

Johnson is being held on $2,000,000 bail.