Slain Florida LGBTQ Activist Jorge Diaz-Johnston's Roommate Indicted on Murder Charges After Body Discovered in Landfill

Jorge Diaz-Johnston

A Florida court has indicted a suspect in the murder of activist Jorge Diaz-Johnston.

via People:

The Leon County grand jury returned an indictment Thursday against Diaz-Johnston’s former roommate Steven Yinger on several charges, including first-degree murder, according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE.

Yinger, 36, is accused of killing Diaz-Johnston, 54, by “strangling and/or choking” him sometime between Jan. 3 and 5, the indictment states. He’s currently being held without bail at Leon County Detention Facility.

Further charges against Yinger include grand theft, grand theft of a motor vehicle, tampering with evidence, and criminal use of a personal ID.

The court docs allege that Yinger “did unlawfully alter, destroy, conceal, or remove the body of Jorge Diaz-Johnston, [his] iPhone, iPhone accessories and/or computer tablet” to impair the investigation, in addition to stealing Diaz-Johnston’s BMW and fraudulently using his identification.

State Attorney Jack Campbell called Diaz-Johnston’s murder “a tragedy,” telling the Tallahassee Democrat: “I do appreciate the hard work of the grand jury, and we’re going to work hard to get justice for him and his family.”

Diaz-Johnston was last seen alive on Jan. 3 before his body was discoveredJan. 8 at Springhill Landfill in Campbellton, shortly after a missing persons alert was issued for him that morning.

A prominent LGBTQ activist, Jorge and his husband Don Price Diaz-Johnston were plaintiffs in a historic 2015 lawsuit that led to the legalization of same-sex marriage in Miami-Dade County.

Jorge was separated from Don when he met Yinger in an alcohol recovery program, offering him a place to stay after he was released from prison in early October. “Jorge didn’t charge him rent, never had expectations, until he could get a job and support himself and that’s who Jorge was,” Don told WPLG.

“I am so angry,” he added. “After all those years of trying to get my husband back, to have him ripped from me for such an utterly senseless reason.”

Yinger, whose rap sheet goes back to 2004 and includes burglary, selling drugs, and battery, was stopped by police twice for driving on a suspended or revoked license in the days following Jorge’s disappearance, the second time while driving Jorge’s BMW, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

Police later found Yinger on Jan. 11, hiding in a stairwell outside a building close to Jorge’s home. Although he attempted to flee, Yinger was quickly apprehended and arrested for trespassing and other charges. He’s since been in jail for violating his probation.

Yinger told police he was looking for a place to sleep on the street, as officers kept hounding him about Jorge’s disappearance while he continued to stay at the victim’s apartment.

“Right now, I’m relieved that the world knows the truth,” Don told the Tallahassee Democrat. “It’s been very difficult to have this suspicion hanging over me for three months. But I’ve known the truth all along.”

Yinger’s first court appearance is scheduled for Saturday.

Jorge deserves justice.

Share This Post