Man indicted for allegedly killing escort

His mother, another woman accused of cleaning scene

Nehemiah  Johnson

Nehemiah Johnson

JONESBORO — A Jonesboro man has been indicted on murder charges by a Clayton County grand jury. His mother and another woman were included in the indictment and are accused of cleaning up the crime scene.


Santosha Payton

Nehemiah Johnson was indicted on malice murder, felony murder, and aggravated assault charges Wednesday. Johnson’s mother, Vernice Rockwell Johnson, and Santosha Quesha Payton were indicted on tampering with evidence charges.

Rochelle Thomas was killed Jan. 24, at Harmony Crossroads Apartments located at 8050 Tara Blvd., Apt. #3, according to the arrest warrant.

Special agent Jonathan Spurlock said Thomas came to the apartment to have sex with Nehemiah Johnson, when he allegedly strangled her with a telephone cord, according to the arrest warrant.

According to the special agent, the victim was a prostitute. Authorities said the murder suspect told his sister he was going to commit murder, according to the arrest warrant.

Authorities said Thomas was killed in one of the bedrooms of the apartment and that Vernice Johnson and Payton cleaned up the evidence, according to the indictment. The women also were accused of throwing evidence away in a dumpster.

“[Nehemiah Johnson] did cause the death of Ms. Thomas by strangling her with a phone cord found in the room at the incident location where the accused had been with a female. Ms. Thomas, an escort, [who] came to the incident location for sexual relations, the accused admits seeing Ms. Thomas arrive and there were several phone calls between the accused and Ms. Thomas on the incident date,” according to Nehemiah Johnson’s arrest warrant. “The accused told his sister he was going to murder somebody and his mother cleaned up the scene.”