A man who was convicted of two murders in 1998 is now facing a special circumstance in the killing of his girlfriend who was found bound in her South Los Angeles home last summer, officials announced Wednesday.
Darryl Lamar Collins, 51, of Baldwin Park, has been charged with one count of murder with the special circumstance allegation of a prior first-degree murder conviction, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
The June 10 complaint against Collins was amended to include the special circumstance filing.
Collins allegedly killed 53-year-old Fatima Johnson on July 2.
Her daughters found her body two days later, on July 4, after they grew concerned because she failed to show up to work the day before and wasn’t responding to text messages.
Her hands were tied and her body was wrapped in a blanket.
Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner records show she died of asphyxia; a secondary cause was listed as neck pressure and possible smothering.
Neighbors said they saw the perpetrator running away from the crime scene.
Collins was taken into custody by the Los Angeles Police Department months later, on Sept. 3, arrest records show. He is being held without bail.
Johnson, 53, was described as a kind and generous mother of six who was adored in the neighborhood.
“An internal committee of experienced attorneys with diverse backgrounds has reviewed the facts of this case and determined that, in this extremely rare instance, a policy deviation was warranted and approved the filing of a special circumstance allegation,” District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement Wednesday. “The facts of this case are extraordinary and demanded further review based on our charging policies.”
Gascón had previously faced criticism for not charging Collins with the special circumstances in the case, and Johnson’s killing was featured on a website supporting the recall of the district attorney.