Cops say sus­pect ad­mit­ted shoot­ing W.C. man

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Alex Rose arose@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @arosedelco on Twit­ter

ME­DIA >> Ac­cused killer Ley­ron D. Johns ad­mit­ted to fa­tally shoot­ing 27-year-old Joseph Tor­res in a taped in­ter­view with de­tec­tives last year, but said it was out of fear of a for­mer code­fen­dant.

Johns, 20, of the 800 block of West Fifth Street in Ch­ester, is charged with mur­der in the first-, sec­ond- and third-de­gree, rob­bery, theft by un­law­ful tak­ing and pos­ses­sion of a con­trolled sub­stance for the July 27, 2015, shoot­ing death of Joseph Tor­res at the Mano’s Gulf sta­tion in the 900 block of Ker­lin Street.

Johns ini­tially told Delaware County De­tec­tive Adam Sen­dak and Ch­ester Po­lice Cpl. Wil­liam Carey dur­ing the in­ter­view Oct. 10, 2015, that he had got­ten into Tor­res’ truck that day to help him find pills, but de­nied any in­volve­ment in the shoot­ing.

Sen­dak ex­plained to Johns that po­lice had seen video of him telling some­one else that he needed to “fall back” be­cause he “caught a body” with My­ers, who Johns re­ferred to as “Ron Gees.”

Johns, rep­re­sented by de­fense at­tor­ney Wil­liam Wis­mer, asked Sen­dak if he could start over, then said My­ers came to a friend’s house July 27 and said he had a buyer for Per­co­cet pills. Johns said My­ers asked him to walk to the meet­ing spot with him be­cause My­ers did not have the pills and in­tended to rob the buyer.

“The guy didn’t have no money, so I guess he was try­ing to burn Gees,” said Johns. “So Gees told me pull out the gun. I pulled out

the gun and I said to the guy, ‘Just give it to him.’ And the guy said, ‘I don’t got it.’ So Gees tell me – he said, ‘Shoot him.’”

Johns said he balked at first, but My­ers told him that if he did not shoot, Tor­res would re­port them to the po­lice for an at­tempted rob­bery.

“So I shot the guy,” said Johns. “Gees said, ‘Get his keys,’ so I grab his keys and I give them to Gees.”

My­ers, 23, en­tered an open guilty plea last month to third-de­gree mur­der, rob­bery, and con­spir­acy to de­liver a con­trolled sub­stance for his in­volve­ment in the case.

He tes­ti­fied Tues­day that Johns had set up the drug deal ear­lier in the day us­ing My­ers’ phone and in­vited him to come along for the meet. My­ers said Johns pro­vided him with a bot­tle of pills to give to Tor­res.

Tor­res al­legedly showed My­ers a pic­ture of the pills he wanted to buy on his phone. My­ers said he also showed the pic­ture to Johns.

“Next thing I know, Ley­ron pulls the gun out,” said My­ers. “He has it to the back of (Tor­res’) head. Tor­res is mov­ing, I tells him if he got any­thing to give it up and Ley­ron shoots him.”

My­ers de­nied any prior knowl­edge that a rob­bery was go­ing to take place, but did ac­knowl­edge that he pushes Tor­res in video sur­veil­lance. He said Johns took Tor­res’ car keys out of his pocket and the two ran to the pickup, which Tor­res pointed out ear­lier.

My­ers said he drove the truck to an al­ley at Sec­ond and Union streets at Johns’ di­rec­tion, then walked back to Fifth Street with Johns, where they parted ways.

Fin­ger­prints col­lected from the truck matched Johns, ac­cord­ing to county De­tec­tive David Mc­Don­ald, an ex­pert in fin­ger­print in­ves­ti­ga­tion and iden­ti­fi­ca­tion.

Veronica Miller, a foren­sic DNA sci­en­tist with the Penn­syl­va­nia State Po­lice, also tes­ti­fied that Johns could not be ex­cluded from DNA sam­ples taken from in­side the truck.

Sen­dak said Johns de­nied be­ing un­der the in­flu­ence of PCP at the time of the shoot­ing, but later claimed to have taken Xanax that night.

Johns also claimed in the in­ter­view that he was afraid of My­ers, who he said had a rep­u­ta­tion for hurt­ing peo­ple. Johns said in the record­ing that he was afraid his fam­ily might be in dan­ger if My­ers was ar­rested for at­tempted rob­bery.

Sen­dak and Se­nior Deputy Dis­trict At­tor­ney Michael McDe­vitt also read a se­ries of text mes­sages al­legedly sent be­tween Tor­res and Johns set­ting up the deal, in which Tor­res in­di­cates he does not trust Johns and wants to meet him alone. The deal was for 20 or 30 pills of 30mg Per­co­cet at $20 apiece.

The bench trial be­fore Judge Gre­gory Mal­lon was ex­pected to con­clude Fri­day.

Ley­ron Johns

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