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Police: Florida teen killed 1, stabbed 2 others at sleepover because 'of his Muslim faith'

Posted at 7:05 PM, Mar 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-14 07:38:11-04

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — A 17-year-old Florida teen has confessed to a deadly stabbing on Monday saying he did it because of his Muslim faith, according to Palm Beach Gardens police.

Police say that a sleepover at a friend's house turned deadly when 17-year-old Corey Johnson secretly planned to kill his friend's mother, brother and brother's friend in their sleep. Johnson has since been charged with one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder.

According to an arrest report, Johnson was sleeping over at 15-year-old Kyle Bancroft's house on Sunday night. Kyle's brother, 13-year-old Dane Bancroft, also had a friend sleeping over, 13-year-old Jovanni Brand. Kyle and Dane's mother, Elaine Simon, was at home watching the teens.


Tampa PD: Double homicide suspect killed roommates because they 'disrespected' his Muslim faith

Following his arrest, Johnson allegedly told police that he bought a knife on Sunday and brought it to the sleepover. He said that around 4 a.m. on Monday, he realized that everyone in the house was asleep. That's when he said he made the decision to kill Simon, Dane and Brand.

Johnson went to where Brand was sleeping in the loft located upstairs and stabbed him multiple times, then cut his throat, according to the arrest report. 

Around that time, Simon heard a commotion coming from upstairs and when she went to check on the boys, she was met at the stairs by Johnson who stabbed her multiple times. She says that Dane ran to protect her and was also stabbed multiple times.

The two were able to escape to a neighbor who called 911. Officers who responded to the scene found Johnson barricaded in a bedroom, and later found Brand in an upstairs bedroom with multiple stab wounds and a throat laceration. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police say that Kyle was unharmed during the incident, his mother was stabbed 12 times, and his younger brother Dane was stabbed 32 times.

Simon told police that she has known Johnson for over 10 years.

Following Johnson's arrest, he told police that he stabbed the victims "because of his Muslim faith," according to the arrest report. 

Johnson said Brand was "idealizing famous people and referencing them as gods" which went against his faith, according to the arrest report. And he felt Dane "made fun of" his Muslim faith, the probable cause affidavit states.

Johnson told police that he watched violent videos on the Internet and "was reading The Quaran from his phone just prior to the attack to give him courage to carry out his intentions," the probable cause affidavit states.

"Our understanding is he had converted to Islam and had been watching violent videos online," said interim Palm Beach Gardens Police Chief Clint Shannon.

When asked if the incident was linked to ISIS, Shannon replied, “Not from what we’ve uncovered, but we understand he has been watching violent videos, which may have some link to ISIS.”

When authorities spoke to Kyle, he told them he knew that Johnson believes in the Muslim faith and although he (Kyle) doesn't believe in the faith, the two often watched videos about Muslim Jihadists together on the Internet.

"The videos are extreme and encourage death to non-believers," the arrest report states.

Johnson was a student at Dwyer High School and recently withdrawn, according to police.

Johnson is being held at the Palm Beach County Juvenile Detention Center without bond.

The FBI is now involved in the case.

Mary Stringini is a Digital Reporter for ABC Action News. Follow her on Twitter @MaryWFTS.