- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 8, 2014

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - The foster son of a longtime Anchorage radio host has been charged with carrying out his murder and staging a robbery to distract investigators.

Peter John Henry, 16, was charged in adult court with first-degree murder in the death Tuesday of Marvell Johnson, 64, host of the “Soul to Soul” music show on public radio station KSKA-FM for nearly 40 years.

Henry is also charged with felony coercion, theft and evidence tampering. Prosecutors say he shot Johnson, coerced another boy to ditch the murder weapon and planted Johnson’s empty wallet in the front yard of the home.

The investigation began with a tip from another student, Anchorage police Detective Monique Doll said in the charging documents. The student Tuesday approached a police officer assigned to his high school and said Henry had shot Johnson.

The student said Henry had been grounded for using spice, a synthetic drug. Henry also was angry that Johnson had searched Henry’s room and confiscated the charger to his vapor cigarette, the student said.

The student said Henry had announced his intent to kill Johnson on Monday night, but the student did not believe him.

He said he was awakened early Tuesday morning by gunshots from Johnson’s bedroom. The boy said Henry told him he shot Johnson and said he would kill the student if he told anyone.

Henry gave him the other boy the murder weapon, told him to put it in a nearby creek, and ordered him to destroy the home surveillance system by dousing it with water from the bathtub, the student told police.

During his interview, Henry told investigators he stole ammunition for the gun Monday from a department store. Detectives verified the theft with surveillance video, Doll said.

Henry told investigators that after he shot Johnson, he took Johnson’s wallet, iPad, watch and phone, threw the contents of the wallet in the front yard and walked around the house several times to make the homicide appear to be a robbery.

He said he put the iPad and watch into his backpack and planned to sell them, Doll said.

Henry was jailed Tuesday night at the Anchorage Correctional Complex and scheduled for arraignment Wednesday. Court documents did not indicate that he was immediately represented by an attorney.

At KSKA studio, Johnson played soul, hip-hop and rhythm-and-blues music with the show he co-hosted with his wife, Sheri. He would read letters from inmates written to people on the outside.

After Johnson and his wife raised four biological children, the couple for 25 years took in foster children, said Johnson’s sister, Sarah Jane Johnson. Many were considered “at-risk,” she said from her home in Sacramento, California.

“They just wanted to give it back, just wanted to pay it forward,” she said.

A former foster child, Shyla Fleming, 19, said she and two younger siblings lived with the Johnsons for six months in 2006. She called it “the happiest foster home we’d been to.”

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Information from: Alaska Dispatch News, https://www.adn.com

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