Prostitute charged with murder in death of Villanova star Porter

A prostitute who was recorded as saying that she wasn't "losing any sleep" over the May death of former Villanova basketball star Howard Porter aided and abetted his killing, according to a criminal complaint released Thursday.

Tonya Evette Johnson, 33, was charged with second-degree murder for her role in Porter's death. She told authorities that she was street walking near her St. Paul apartment when she approached Porter for a "date." She said she brought him to her apartment to exchange sex for money and crack cocaine when four men rushed in and beat him, according to the complaint.

The complaint said an autopsy showed no drugs in Porter's blood when he died -- welcome news to some who knew that Porter had struggled with drug addiction in the past but had since turned his life around.

"That is good news," said Chris Crutchfield, spokesman for Ramsey County Community Corrections, where Porter worked as a probation officer. "Again, we want to stay focused on catching the people who did this. It's even better news that (authorities) have made another arrest."

Porter disappeared the night of May 18 after leaving his St. Paul home. He was found in Minneapolis the next morning, badly injured, and was taken to the hospital as a John Doe. Authorities realized later that the assault victim was Porter. He died on May 26.

According to the complaint, Johnson, also known as Tonya Evette Jones, brought Porter to her apartment on the night he disappeared. Johnson told investigators that four masked men rushed in, threw her to the floor, and demanded money and drugs from Porter. Johnson told police the four men beat Porter "real bad, God real bad" with their fists, feet and chairs and that "there was blood everywhere," the complaint said.

Johnson told police she knew one of the men was Rashad Arthur Raleigh, 29, who has been charged with second-degree murder. Authorities have said the investigation is ongoing.

The complaint said that Johnson told authorities in a Sept. 4 interview that she believes the door to her residence was locked and that Raleigh had a key. Johnson also said she cleaned up Porter's blood in the apartment after the beating.

And in a phone call recorded at the residence on May 23, Johnson is recorded as saying she wasn't "losing any sleep or getting any gray hair" about Porter's death. She also used expletives and said she didn't care about it and that "mines got to eat too, you should have been here."

The complaint said Johnson admitted it was her voice on the recording, but denied that she was talking about Porter's beating and death.

In a series of recorded calls, the complaint said, Raleigh told a caller from the Ramsey County Workhouse that Porter had "rushed" him and "didn't go along with the program." Raleigh allegedly also said that he robbed Porter because he needed money, but that Johnson had come up with the idea.

Porter was a standout at Villanova, leading the Wildcats to the 1971 NCAA championship game and was selected outstanding player of the tournament despite the Wildcats' loss to UCLA in the final. But he was stripped of his award and the team's accomplishments were wiped from the record books after it was learned he had begun dealing with an agent before the season ended.

Porter was drafted 32nd overall by the Chicago Bulls in 1971 and played seven professional seasons including stints with Detroit and New York but never achieved the success he had in college.

He became addicted to drugs and came to Minnesota for treatment. He decided to stay and became a probation officer for Ramsey County in 1995. Those who worked with Porter said he often used his past struggle with drugs to show his probation clients that they, too, could turn their lives around.

0 comments: