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Blood links suspect to fatal home invasion

MANATEE — Blood found at the scene of a fatal home invasion last week belonged to murder suspect Everrick Jermain Houston, according to court papers released Monday.

The evidence placed 28-year-old Houston at the DeSoto Village apartment where 19-year-old Crystal Johnson, who was seven months pregnant, was fatally shot in the chest after three masked men broke in the early morning of July 12, according to detectives. Johnson collapsed in the bathroom, the court papers state, then was taken to Manatee Memorial Hospital where she died.

Her unborn baby was successfully delivered, but died eight hours later, according to a report written by Manatee sheriff’s Detective Jeffrey Bliss.

Johnson’s boyfriend, Lawrence Funsch, the father of the unborn baby, returned fire at the intruders with a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson that belonged to Johnson’s mother, Susie Moore, who was also in the home, the court papers show.

Funsch told deputies that he hit at least one of the men, and that they ran out of the apartment, according to reports.

A trail of blood that began inside the apartment led outside to a sidewalk and ended in a grassy area about 100 feet south of the apartment complex, in the 3800 block of Fifth Street East, according to the court papers.

Minutes after the 1:20 a.m. home invasion, two men brought Houston to Manatee Memorial Hospital to be treated for a gunshot wound to the chest. The men said they found their friend on the side of the road in the 2700 block of First Street East.

Results of lab tests show blood taken at the hospital from Houston’s shirt matches the blood evidence found at the crime scene, court papers state.

The shirt also had a hole consistent with a gunshot, according to detectives.

When interviewed, Houston told detectives that he was shot while walking down the road from his cousin’s house by someone “driving an unknown car with a shotgun,” court papers state.

But detectives said his injury is inconsistent with a shotgun, according to reports.

Detectives believe Houston was one of the intruders, but it is still| under investigation if he fired a weapon, sheriff’s spokesman Dave Bristow said.

As of Monday night, no other suspects had been arrested, and sheriff’s detectives continued to investigate.

Houston was released from the hospital on Saturday and booked into the Manatee County jail on two counts of murder.

He remained held without bond on Monday.

A funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. today for Johnson and her baby at Happy Gospel Church, 1915 53rd Ave. E., Bradenton.

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