Teen charged with murder in Palm Beach Gardens says he was defending Muslim faith

Corey Johnson Palm Beach Gardens murder stabbing

Corey Johnson, 17, of Jupiter, admitted to authorities that he stabbed and killed a 13-year-old boy and repeatedly stabbed a woman and her son in Palm Beach Gardens on Monday. Johnson cited his Muslim faith as the reason he attacked the victims.

According to police, Johnson was staying for a sleepover in the 334 Sunset Bay Lane home of Elaine Simon and her sons Dane Bancroft, 13, and Kyle Bancroft, 15.

Jovanni Brand, also 13, was also spending the night at the house; it was his birthday.

Johnson told police he thought Dane Bancroft made fun of his Muslim faith and that Jovanni Brand was idolizing celebrities, which violated his Muslim views. The teen said he read the Quran on his phone before gaining the courage to “carry out his intentions.”

In the early morning hours of Monday, Johnson made a plan to kill Elaine Simon, her son Dane, and his friend Jovanni. He would stab them in their sleep.

Jovanni died after Corey Johnson slit his throat and stabbed him repeatedly.

Simon awoke about 5:45 a.m.to a commotion and went upstairs. Johnson confronted her and stabbed her approximately 12 times. Her son, Dane ran to defend his mom. That’s when Johnson stabbed him over 30 times, police said.

The two survived and ran to a neighbor’s house for help. 9-1-1 was called and police responded. The mother and son remain hospitalized.

Johnson, who had at one time attended Dwyer High School, barricaded himself inside the house before he was withdrawn by authorities.

Kyle Bancroft, Simon’s older son who was found unharmed, told investigators he and Johnson often watched videos about Muslim jihadis on the Internet. He said they watched as recently as Sunday, according to police records.

Johnson made his appearance in juvenile court Tuesday. He was ordered held on one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder.

Reports of Corey Johnson being the focus of a previous FBI bulletin due to concerns about his violent tendencies, are being verified.

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