Man Pleads Guilty to Murdering Wife: 'I Destroyed Everything'

Updated: 03/08/2013 10:13 PM KSTP.com By: Jennie Olson

A St. Paul man pleaded guilty to murdering his wife and putting her dismembered body in a White Bear Lake garage. Thirty-four-year-old Steven Roger Johnson was sentenced to life in prison after he pleaded guilty to first-degree premeditated murder Friday.

The 32-year-old victim, identified in the police report as Manya Jewel Johnson of St. Paul, was found Jan. 7 on the 2200 block of Eighth Street in White Bear Lake after police received a tip call. Police believe she was killed in St. Paul, but her body was found in White Bear Lake.

Steven Johnson was arrested that night. Police spokesman Howie Padilla says detectives had information that led them to a residence on the 1400 block of Sheldon in St. Paul where they made the arrest.

According to a police report, Steven Johnson and the victim were married.

Steven Johnson admitted that he murdered Manya Johnson at their home on Sunday, Jan. 6, after an argument. He said he shot her in the head with a handgun and then used a saw to dismember her body in the shower. He admitted to stealing the gun from his father-in-law's home about two weeks before the shooting.

Her body was then placed in storage bins and put into his friend’s garage without his friend’s knowledge.

"Manya had a huge heart and she accepted me for my past. I did not deserve her," Johnson said in court. "I was given a second chance at life. I destroyed everything. I robbed my son of his mom and dad."

In court, prosecutors said there is indication that a child was present at the time of the crime.

Johnson has a criminal history; he was convicted in 1996 of aiding and abetting first-degree criminal sexual conduct. According to the Department of Corrections, Johnson got out of prison in February of 2008 but has been under supervised release by Ramsey County’s probation and parole office.

Ramsey County Attorney John Choi talked about the plea Friday. Watch the raw video of his interview below.