Indiana man charged with targeting members of Detroit's LGBTQ community, killing one

An Indianapolis man has been charged with targeting two men in the Detroit area LGBTQ community and murdering one at a Dearborn hotel last summer.

The Wayne County prosecutor's office says 34-year-old Diabolique Paris Johnson faces arraignment Thursday in Detroit for first-degree murder and using a firearm during a felony. 

The 39-year-old victim was killed on Sept. 5 during an armed robbery after Worthy's office said Johnson met the man via an online dating app.

In a press release from Worthy and the Fair Michigan Justice Project (FMJP), Johnson is accused of first visiting Detroit and robbing a man he met in the app on Sept. 1, 2020. This robbery is alleged to have happened at hotel in Dearborn.

Four days later, Worthy and FMJP said that Johnson murdered a 39-year-old man from Detroit during an armed robbery.

The press release states that Johnson targeted both men because they were members of the LGBTQ community.

Johnson was not arrested until December. Between Sept. 1 and Dec. 4, Dearborn and Indianapolis police investigated together, ultimately leading to his arrest. 

On Tuesday, he was extradited from Indiana and arrived in Michigan. He was arraigned Wednesday morning in Dearborn for the armed robbery and is expected to be arraigned on the murder charge in Detroit on Thursday.

"He met the victim on a dating website and they met up at a hotel for sex, but he robbed that victim while he was in the shower taking a laptop, keys and a blue Dodge Caravan," testified Ladonna Logan, assistant Wayne County prosecutor.

Diabolique Paris Johnson, 34, is accused of targeting and attacking two members of Detroit's LGBTQ community, killing one of them.

 A blue Dodge Caravan prosecutors say he still had when he was recently arrested in Indiana. But that's not the only crime he's accused of here.

Investigators say it was just a few days later that Johnson met another person - this time in Detroit - and that encounter ended in murder.

"It is alleged that four days later in the city of Detroit, Mr. Diabolique Johnson participated in a second robbery attempt of the same nature as the one he's alleged to have committed in Dearborn, but that resulted actually in the death of the victim," Logan said.

 A 39-year-old man was found murdered inside his home on Woodbine on Sept. 5. Prosecutors say Johnson was targeting members of the LGBTQ community - meeting them on dating apps - then victimizing them.

"I don't think that my community realizes that every single time you meet somebody online - it's no different than playing Russian roulette," said Julisa Abad. "Like you're genuinely putting yourself in danger."

Abad is the director of transgender outreach and advocacy - working with the FAIR Michigan Justice Project. She is asking the community to be vigilant if they're going out with someone they met online.

"Make sure that a friend, a family member, somebody has an address, a picture, a license plate - something distinctive - so unfortunately if something does happen, we'd be able to at least have a starting point," she said.

 And Abad says if you are a victim of a crime - don't be afraid to come forward. The attorney general's hate crimes unit and county prosecutors are committed to working with FAIR Michigan to get justice.

 If anybody has been a victim of a crime and doesn't feel comfortable to call 911 or law enforcement - there is a number you can call and report your crime over the phone at 313-267-4600.

Two years ago, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel created the hate crimes unit to investigate and prosecute hate crimes. This includes people targeted based on their on race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

As part of the unit, Nessel offered state assistance to county prosecutors with hate crimes prosecutions and this is the first such case between Nessel and Worthy.
"I’m proud to stand with Prosecutor Worthy and the Fair Michigan Justice Project to announce these charges today. It’s my hope that this case marks the beginning of a long partnership focused on providing justice to some of our most vulnerable communities," Attorney General Nessel said.