Missing 25-year-old’s body found; two men charged with murder

By ROBIN FITZGERALD – rfitzgerald@sunherald.com



Two men charged in the murder of Benny Ray Johnston disposed of his body in Covington County after one of them struck him in the head with a baseball bat and stabbed him, court papers said.

Johnston, 25, of Biloxi, had been missing four days after deputies were called about a fight at a home in Crown Hill Commons off Three Rivers Road. Harrison County Chief Deputy Landi Phillips said information provided by one of the suspects led to the discovery of Johnston’s body before dark on Monday.

Phillips said officers searched a 30-mile stretch of U.S. 49 between the outskirts of Collins and Mt. Olive. They found the remains in a wooded area east of the highway.

Brian Bradshaw, 26, and Sean Merritt, 27, were in jail on related charges Tuesday when deputies served them with warrants on murder charges. Justice Court Judge Diane Ladner set bond for each at $1 million.

Merritt lives on Thornton Hill Drive, where the assault reportedly occurred. Bradshaw lives on Mary Street in Gulfport.

Sheriff’s Maj. Ron Pullen said the men’s previous charges of aggravated assault and kidnapping were dismissed.
Read more: http://www.sunherald.com/2010/04/20/2116379/missing-25-year-olds-body-found.html#ixzz0lkJ0NHKf


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