Johnson pleads guilty to Holly Street homicide

Johnson pleads guilty to Holly Street homicide
The Alexandria Courthouse. (File Photo)

By Derrick Perkins

Marie M. Johnson pleaded guilty to the murder of 94-year-old city resident Elmer Roehrs in Alexandria Circuit Court today as part of a deal struck with prosecutors.

Roehrs was found dead in his Holly Street home February 13. Police arrested Johnson, 45, not long after, but initially held her on charges stemming from an earlier burglary of Roehrs’ house.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Randy Sengel said Roehrs died of a combination of blunt force and stab wounds to his head and chest, which left his aorta punctured. Before fleeing the scene, Johnson repeatedly tried to start a fire, authorities said.

Prosecutors linked Johnson to the crime with surveillance footage that captured her entering and exiting the home on the day of the murder as well as with DNA evidence.

In exchange for pleading guilty to second-degree murder, attempted arson and burglary, the commonwealth’s attorney’s office dropped larceny and destruction of property charges.

Johnson will be sentenced August 22. She faces a maximum of up to 70 years behind bars.