HUNTINGDON COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ/WAVY) — After 13 years without answers, DNA results were able to lead police to a Newport News man they believe murdered two Pennsylvania women in 2009, Huntingdon County District Attorney David Smith announced Thursday.
Morico Johnson, 47, was taken into custody in his hometown on Tuesday, May 24, according to an online arrest report. He faces homicide charges in the death of the two Mount Union women, Huntingdon County court dockets show.
Johnson waived extradition from Newport News and will be brought back to Huntingdon County, Pa. to stand trial.
In 2009, Christine McWhorter, 22, and Beatrice Daniels, 31, were both found dead at the Chestnut Terrace Apartments located on Federal Drive, in Mount Union. Police said in the original reports that they were both found lying in their bed with gunshot wounds, but there was no sign of a struggle.
Back in 2016, investigators said they got test results back from DNA Phenotyping, which is a special process that helps predict the physical appearance of the suspect. This allowed them to re-open the case with a fresh perspective.
Investigators got a lead in 2018 from the DNA testing that led them to Johnson who they were able to interview in 2019.
According to the complaint, Johnson said he would travel from Newport News to Mount Union to visit his girlfriend who was best friends with one of the victims. He told police he was never in McWhorter’s home. He also agreed to provide a DNA sample at that time.
In early 2020, an analysis of Johnson’s DNA matched with blood that was found at the crime scene in 2009. Investigators also reported that Johnson was off of work during the time of the homicide and wasn’t scheduled for a shift until 7 a.m. on Jan. 3, 2009. The time to travel from Mount Union to his workplace would be roughly 4 hours and 43 minutes or 294 miles.
Investigators said they reached out to West Haven Police in Connecticut who interviewed Johnston’s half-brother. He told police that their father owned a .25 caliber handgun and Johnson likely inherited it with everything else in 1998.
The results of the DNA Phenotyping in 2016 showed the person of interest was most likely a medium to light-skinned African American male with Green or Hazel Eye color and zero to few freckles. Johnson has green eyes and is light skinned as the profile suggested.
Police have never made any arrests in the case until now.