2nd man charged in double homicide

bburger@bradenton.comJuly 25, 2009 

MANATEE — Detectives have arrested another man in connection to the murder of a young pregnant woman.

Gregory Kennon, 21, was arrested at his residence Friday afternoon in the 700 block of 26th Avenue East in Bradenton, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

Kennon was arrested after his blood was found at the woman’s apartment complex after her boyfriend returned gunfire, according to arrest warrants.

“There was evidence connecting him to the homicide. Whether or not it was him being shot or not, that’s what we think happened. ... Of course, he didn’t say he was shot,” said sheriff’s office Public Information Officer Dave Bristow.

Kennon, who was already under community supervision, faces charges of two counts of murder and one count of armed burglary to a dwelling.

Crystal Johnson, 19, was approximately seven months pregnant when she was shot and killed in a home invasion robbery July 12.

Johnson was in the DeSoto Village Apartment complex, 3810 Fifth Street E., with her boyfriend and her mother when three gunmen entered the apartment, according to authorities.

Johnson’s mother, Susan Lynette Moore, said she was thrilled to hear about the second arrest in the case. She continues to mourn her daughter’s and granddaughter’s deaths.

“I’m very happy. ... I want to face them in court. I want to tell them what they made me lose and what I’ll never be able to get back,” she said.

Doctors were able to deliver the baby, Lariah Faith Funsch, who lived for eight hours before dying from maternal shock and premature birth, according to an arrest warrant.

Kennon, who appeared to receive a gunshot wound to right arm, is the second person arrested in connection to the double murder. He was convicted of two counts of grand theft May 2007.

Kennon was also a person of interest in another home invasion homicide when Robert Prater Sr. was shot and killed June 1, 2007, according to authorities. He was never charged.

Sheriff’s office detectives made the first arrest in Johnson’s death July 17. They believe the home invasion was drug related.

Everrick Houston, 28, was arrested after he was taken to Manatee Memorial Hospital with a gunshot wound to the chest.

Johnson’s boyfriend and the father of her born child, Lawrence Funsch, fired back with a .38 Smith and Wesson revolver at the intruders, striking Houston and Kennon during the home invasion.

Investigators found two blood drops on the sidewalk just outside of the apartment and on a metal rail near a southeast gate, according to the warrants.

When investigators sent evidence to the lab, technicians told detectives a second person’s blood was found besides Houston’s outside the apartment door.

“Since the date of this incident, I have received several anonymous tips that the defendant, Gregory Kennon, was involved in this murder and he too, was also shot,” according to the warrant written by Detective Jeff Bliss.

A neighbor told detectives three masked men were running south of the apartment complex.

Houston was found several blocks away at 2700 First Street East. Two men told detectives they found Houston on the side of the road and drove him to the hospital.

The case remains under investigation with possibly a third gunman at large.

Anyone with any information can contact Bliss at 747-3011, ext. 2159 or remain anonymous by calling Crimestoppers at (866) 634-TIPS (8477).

Beth Burger, criminal justice reporter, can be reached at 708-7919.

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