Suspect in fatal home invasion denied bond

rnapper@bradenton.comSeptember 17, 2009 

BRADENTON — A judge denied bond for one of two men accused of murder in the killing of a pregnant Bradenton woman during a home invasion attack.

Everrick Houston, 28, will remain at the Manatee County jail without bond on two counts of first-degree murder and armed burglary in the July 11 shooting death of 19-year-old Crystal Johnson and her unborn child.

Manatee County Sheriff’s Office reports say at about 1:20 a.m., two or three men stormed Johnson’s apartment in DeSoto Village in the 3800 block of Fifth Street East.

A gunfight ensued between the men and Johnson’s boyfriend, Lawrence Funsch, in the apartment at the time of the attack. Detectives later discovered two of the intruders had been shot by Funsch and found blood outside the apartment.

Blood found about 100 feet from Johnson’s apartment came back as a match with Houston’s DNA, sheriff’s Detective Jeffrey Bliss testified at a bond hearing Wednesday. Other droplets of blood found 15 feet from the door of the apartment matched 21-year-old Gregory Kennon, who faces the same charges as Houston.

Houston’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Carolyn Schlemmer, argued that her client should have a bond set because there is no evidence against Houston other than the DNA, on which a forensic laboratory has not completed a full report.

“We have a DNA match we know nothing about,” Schlemmer argued before Circuit Judge Diana Moreland.

Assistant State Attorney Art Brown said the DNA match proved Houston was in the area of the shooting, and that Houston, who has a prior record of drug and weapons convictions, is a danger to the community.

Moreland agreed with Brown, ruling the blood showed Houston to be in the area of the shooting when Johnson was killed.

Sheriff’s officials have said detectives believe the motive for the home invasion to be drugs after finding marijuana, prescription pills, a scale and ledger in Johnson’s apartment.

Weeks after the shoot- ing, detectives arrested Funsch on charges of pos- session of marijuana, two counts of possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

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