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Police: Suspect In Art Student's Murder Was On Parole For Attempted Murder Charge In California

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The suspect who was arrested for the murder of a Philadelphia art student last November was previously arrested in California on an attempted murder charge.

Philadelphia police announced Thursday the arrest of 22-year-old David Grier of the 400 block of Edgemoor Street in West Philadelphia. He is accused of killing 21-year-old Kierra Johnson last November.

David Grier mugshot

Johnson, an honor student at Hussian School of Art in the Spring Garden section of Philadelphia, was found at Cobbs Creek Parkway and Spruce Streets on Nov. 3. Her body was discovered in the water under a bridge by a passing jogger.

Detectives say surveillance video from public transportation cameras placed the victim and suspect together the day before her murder.

"They were acquaintances and we connected that through social media and common friends of both of them," said Philadelphia Police Homicide Capt. John Ryan.

Ryan also said that Grier was arrested in 2016 for attempted murder in Oakland, California. He was currently on parole for that charge.

A spokeswoman for Hussian College said in a statement last year that Johnson was a kind person and an excellent artist, who will be deeply missed.

Kierra Johnson
Photo of Kierra Johnson. (credit: Hussian College)

"Talented, gentle, kind and always smiling Ki was not only a visual artist, but a performance artist as well. She will be deeply missed by all and it is a particularly difficult time for us as we are a small, close-knit community," the statement read.

Police believe robbery was the motive behind this homicide. Grier is facing a number of charges, including murder, robbery and related offenses.

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