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Matthew Steven JOHNSON





Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Drugs
Number of victims: 3 +
Date of murders: 2000 - 2001
Date of arrest: January 13, 2002
Date of birth: 1963
Victims profile: Aida Quinones, 33 / Rosali Jimenez, 33 / Alesia Ford, 37 (prostitutes and drug addicts)
Method of murder: Beating - Strangulation
Location: Hartford, Connecticut, USA
Status: Sentenced to three consecutive life sentences, 2004

Man Held In Two Deaths

The New York Times

Monday, January 14, 2002

The police have arrested a Hartford man on charges that he killed two women. The man, Matthew Steven Johnson, 38, was charged with two counts of murder in the April 2000 death of Aida Quinones and the death last July of Alesia Ford. Mr. Johnson was held on $2.5 million bond on Saturday and was scheduled to be arraigned today at Hartford Superior Court. Ms. Quinones's partly clothed body was discovered April 16, 2000, beneath a highway overpass in Hartford, the police said. Ms. Ford's partially clad body was found July 22, 2001, near an abandoned building in Hartford.


MATTHEW JOHNSON was convicted in February 2004 of three counts of Murder for the slayings of three women who were found murdered in the Asylum Hill neighborhood of Hartford.

He was arrested as a result of an investigation by the Cold Case Unit, Connecticut State Police, the State Police Forensic Laboratory DNA Section, the State of Connecticut Department of Correction and the Hartford Police Department into the deaths of nine women in the Hartford area over the course of seven years.

Five deaths occurred in a particular area of Asylum Hill, and three of the victims were tied to Johnson by DNA evidence. Mr. Johnson was convicted in the deaths of Aida Quinones, whose body was found April 16, 2000 at 85 Laurel Street, Hartford; Rosali Jimenez, whose body was found August 29, 2000 at 50-52 Cedar Street, Hartford; and Alesia Ford, whose body was found on July 22, 2001, at 1 Myrtle Street, Hartford.


State's High Court Upholds Life Prison Sentence in Hartford Serial Killings

October 31, 2008

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Connecticut's Supreme Court on Friday upheld the life prison sentence of a homeless drifter convicted in 2004 of the serial killings of three Hartford prostitutes.

The court rejected 45-year-old Matthew Steven Johnson's argument that he should have had separate trials for the three deaths.

Johnson also claimed it was unfair that jurors were swayed by forensic scientist Henry Lee's description of the deaths as serial killings because of similar methods used by the killer.

Johnson is serving three consecutive life sentences for the beating and strangulation deaths of 33-year-old Aida Quinones, 33-year-old Rosali Jimenez and 37-year-old Alesia Ford.

Their bodies were found within a one-mile radius in a neighborhood near downtown Hartford in 2000 and 2001.

The three victims were described by police and state science experts as prostitutes and drug addicts, each of whom had sexual contact with Johnson shortly before they were found dead.

Lee, a former Connecticut State Police commissioner and nationally known forensics expert, testified during Johnson's trial that the women were killed in similar ways and dumped in similar spots.

Their clothing also was disheveled and partially removed in the same way in each case, he testified, saying those factors convinced him a lone serial killer committed the homicides.

Johnson told police he did not know the victims and couldn't be responsible for their deaths because he had not had sex with a woman since 1982.

That contradicted Lee's testimony that Johnson's DNA was found in semen samples collected from the bodies of each of the victims.

Johnson had a lengthy criminal record before the homicides, according to state records.

When he was 19, he was convicted of beating and attempting to rob a security guard inside the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford's Asylum Hill neighborhood in 1982.

He served four years of a 10-year sentence, then was convicted in 1988 of forcefully restraining a woman on the street. About two years later, he was convicted and imprisoned for raping and beating another woman, records show.



Judicial District of Hartford

Criminal; Whether Evidence from one Murder Case was Properly Considered in Other Murder Case as Proof of Common Scheme or Plan; Whether Forensic Scientist's Testimony Constituted Opinion on Ultimate Issue to be Decided by Jury and Whether His Characterization of Murders as Serial Killings was Extremely Prejudicial. 

The defendant was charged with murder in connection with the deaths of three women in the city of Hartford that occurred in April of 2000, August of 2000 and July of 2001.  The bodies of all three women were found within a one-half mile radius of one another.  Two of the bodies were found outdoors, while one was found inside an abandoned building.  Two of the bodies were found lying face up, while the other was found lying face down.  All three women were found with their pants pulled down around one leg. 

The defendant's semen was found at different locations on the bodies of each of the three women.  Drug paraphernalia was found by two of the bodies, and drugs were determined to be in the bloodstream of all three women.  The medical examiner determined that the amount of force and injuries to all three women were similar.  The trial court consolidated the three cases for trial.  A jury convicted the defendant of all three crimes. 

In this appeal from his convictions, the defendant claims that the trial court improperly allowed evidence from each murder case to be considered in the other cases for the limited purpose of proof of a common scheme or plan.  In that regard, he argues that the state showed only that there were some similarities between the crimes but not that there was a true scheme or plan by the defendant and that, accordingly, the common scheme or plan exception to the general rule barring evidence of uncharged misconduct was improperly merged with the identity exception. 

The defendant also claims on appeal that the trial court improperly allowed a forensic scientist to testify that based on his review of the autopsies, reports and photographs of the three murder scenes, the same person committed all three crimes and that the crimes constituted serial killings.  He argues that such testimony was improper because it constituted an opinion on an ultimate issue that should have been decided by the jury and that it violated an earlier ruling by the court that evidence from each case was not admissible in the others to prove identity.  The defendant further argues that the forensic scientist's characterization of the crimes as serial killings was irrelevant and extremely prejudicial.



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