NewsRegion N Palm Beach CountyPalm Beach Gardens


Corey Johnson sentencing hearing delayed while sleepover killer remains in quarantine

21-year-old could be sentenced to life in prison for 2018 fatal stabbing in Palm Beach Gardens
Corey Johnson wearing mask in court during his murder trial, Oct. 29, 2021
Posted at 8:38 AM, Jan 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-10 09:31:57-05

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.

RELATED: Bloodstained knife on display during Corey Johnson murder trial

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

Corey Johnson 2018 arrest photo
Corey Johnson is charged with first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder in connection with a 2018 knife attack at a sleepover in Palm Beach Gardens.

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.