FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: David Chapman
Phone: (904) 255-3004
Cell: (904) 524-6626
May 28, 2021
JOHNSON FOUND GUILTY OF FIRST-DEGREE MURDER IN 2019 DEATH OF NEIGHBOR
State Attorney Melissa Nelson announces that Darnell Johnson, of Jacksonville, was found guilty by a jury of the First-Degree Murder of Shirley Blakely and Armed Burglary. Johnson now faces a mandatory sentence of life in Florida State Prison. The Honorable Adrian Soud will sentence Johnson during a hearing the week of June 14, 2021.
On June 5, 2019, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office responded to a Westside Jacksonville home in reference to a deceased woman who had been stabbed multiple times and found in her bedroom. An investigation revealed that Johnson, who lived next door to Blakely, had made statements to his mother that evening that Blakely, a 54-year-old-grandmother, had worked “voodoo” on him. After Johnson left, his mother drove around the neighborhood when she heard him call out — she picked him up immediately behind the Blakely’s home. Johnson acted erratically and made statements about “voodoo” magic to the point his mother became concerned. She dropped him off and called law enforcement. Johnson’s mother provided law enforcement consent to search her vehicle, where they found a shoeprint and a white plastic bag containing blood in the back seat where Johnson had sat. The shoeprint matched bloody shoeprints from the scene and a forensic analysis of the white bag with blood showed a mixture of the victim’s blood and Johnson’s DNA. Johnson was subsequently arrested.
The case was investigated by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and prosecuted by Assistant State Attorneys Katelyn Johnston and Tom Mangan.