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Phoenix police make arrest in 1987 cold case homicide

Posted at 5:10 PM, Jun 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-03 20:16:25-04

PHOENIX — Phoenix police say they’ve arrested a man allegedly linked to a 1987 cold-case murder.

On February 21, 1987 police say 41-year-old Marilyn Johns was found in an alley near Central Avenue and Buchanan Street “beaten, sexually assaulted and set on fire by her attacker.”

Johns was hospitalized for several days at a burn unit but eventually passed away on March 5, 1987.

Detectives worked the case extensively but it never got solved. In 2019, additional work was done that helped advance the case and the Phoenix Police Cold Case Homicide Unit began investigating with the County Attorney’s Office.

With help from scientists from the Phoenix Police Crime Lab, probable cause led to the arrest of Darron Miniefield, 52, who was 20-years-old at the time of the crime.

Miniefield was arrested on Tuesday and was booked on one count of first-degree murder.