WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The sentencing hearing for Corey Johnson has been delayed while the convicted killer remains in COVID-19 quarantine.
Johnson, 21, was convicted of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder in November for fatally stabbing a 13-year-old boy during a 2018 sleepover in Palm Beach Gardens.
Palm Beach County Judge Cheryl Caracuzo said Monday during a status check that Johnson was still in quarantine but was expected to be released Tuesday. She tentatively reset the sentencing hearing for Thursday morning.
Johnson stabbed Jovanni Sierra to death at a home in BallenIsles Country Club on March 12, 2018.
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 Bancroft's 13-year-old brother, Dane Bancroft, and his mother, Elaine Simon, who lived at the home.
Dane Bancroft was stabbed 32 times, while Simon was stabbed a dozen times. Both survived the attack.
Police said Johnson, who was 17 at the time of the killing, confessed to the crime, citing his Muslim faith as the motive.
During the investigation, Johnson's relatives told police he was fascinated with dictators like Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin and had recently been studying the Quran.
A Jupiter police report revealed that the FBI had met with one of Johnson's friends as part of an investigation into terrorist threats.
According to an 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.
During Johnson's trial, his defense team tried to convince jurors that Johnson was not guilty by reason of insanity.
Johnson faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.