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Bloodstained knife on display during Corey Johnson murder trial

Police crime scene investigator testifies for prosecution in sleepover stabbing
Palm Beach Gardens police investigator displays knife used as murder weapon during Corey Johnson trial, Oct. 29, 2021
Posted at 4:27 PM, Oct 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-29 16:27:20-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A police crime scene investigator took the stand Friday in the murder trial of Corey Johnson, accused of fatally stabbing a 13-year-old boy during a 2018 sleepover in Palm Beach Gardens.

Johnson, now 21, is charged with first-degree murder in the March 12, 2018, stabbing death of Jovanni Sierra at a home in BallenIsles Country Club. He is also charged with two counts of attempted murder.

Palm Beach Gardens police said Johnson was a guest of Kyle Bancroft, 15, when he stabbed Sierra several times and slit his throat before attacking his friend's 13-year-old brother, Dan Bancroft, and his mother, Elaine Simon, who lived at the home.

Dane Bancroft was stabbed 32 times. Simon was stabbed a dozen times. Both survived the attack.

Corey Johnson wearing mask in court during his murder trial, Oct. 29, 2021
Corey Johnson listens to testimony during his murder trial, Oct. 29, 2021, at the Palm Beach County Courthouse in West Palm Beach, Fla.

A Palm Beach Gardens police crime scene investigator showed pictures she took of the bloodied crime scene. She also held up the bloodstained knife that prosecutors allege Johnson used to stab his victims.

The testimony came a day after Kyle and Dane Bancroft testified against Johnson.

Police said Johnson, who was 17 at the time, confessed to the attack, citing his Muslim faith as the motive.

According to the arrest affidavit, Johnson told police that Sierra was idolizing famous people and referencing them as gods, which went against his Muslim faith. Johnson also felt Dane Bancroft "made fun of" his Muslim faith, the affidavit said.

Just before the attack, Johnson was reading the Quran from his phone "to give him courage to carry out his intentions," the affidavit said.

The defense is seeking to convince a jury that Johnson is not guilty by reason of insanity.