A longtime Anchorage public radio host was found shot dead in his home and his teenage foster son was suspected of killing him out of anger after being punished for synthetic drug use, Anchorage police said on Wednesday.
Marvell Johnson, 64, host of the “Soul to Soul” music show on station KSKA for nearly 35 years, was found shot multiple times in an upstairs bedroom of his home on Tuesday, the Anchorage Police Department said in a statement.
His foster child, 16-year-old Peter John Henry, was charged as an adult with murder, coercion, theft and tampering with evidence and was being held without bail at Anchorage Jail, police said.
Police arriving at Johnson’s house on Tuesday morning found Henry asleep in a downstairs bedroom and held him for questioning throughout the day.
“Detectives learned that Henry had been recently grounded for using the illegal drug Spice. Henry was also angry with Johnson for searching his room and taking his vapor cigarette charger,” the police statement said.
“After shooting Johnson, Henry stole a wallet, iPad, watch, and phone from Johnson’s bedroom. The cash was removed from the wallet and the wallet discarded in front of the home to make it appear to look like a robbery,” police said.
Henry enlisted another boy to destroy evidence, threatening to kill him if he did not help, police said. A student reported the incident to a school police officer.
Johnson and his wife, Sheri, have four biological children but cared for many “at-risk” foster children over at least 25 years, Johnson’s sister, Sarah Jane Johnson, told the Alaska Dispatch News.
Reggie Ward, Johnson’s long-time friend and fellow DJ, told KSKA-Anchorage that “Soul to Soul” helped start urban radio in Alaska and that Johnson trained and mentored many DJs at stations KSKA, KNBA, and around Anchorage.
“He set the tone. He set the example, not so much in his words but in his actions. He was so professional and he loved what he did. We all basically just took his lead,” Ward told the station.
(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Jim Loney)