Home News Bronx headless torso leads to murder rap against ex-con-turned activist Sheldon Johnson...

Bronx headless torso leads to murder rap against ex-con-turned activist Sheldon Johnson Jr. (EXCLUSIVE)


A high-profile ex-con-turned-anti-violence activist who recently guested on Joe Rogan’s hit podcast was charged with murder Thursday after he was caught with a headless armless torso in a Bronx apartment.

Police took Sheldon Johnson Jr. in for questioning after residents at a Summit Ave. apartment building near W. 162nd St. heard what sounded like gunshots around 1 a.m. Tuesday, according to law enforcement.

On Thursday Johnson Jr., 48, was charged with murder, manslaughter, and weapon possession for allegedly killing 44-year-old Colin Small.

Johnson Jr. turned to advocacy work after spending 25 years in an upstate prison for a 1997 robbery he committed in his early 20s. He was released in May, records show.

“[He] was basically told by an African-American judge that you don’t matter, you don’t count and I’m going to throw your life away,” said attorney Josh Dubin, who appeared as a guest on the Feb. 1 episode of the Joe Rogan alongside Sheldon Johnson Jr.

Cops weren’t notified of the sound of gunshots Tuesday until the building’s super — who complained that a neighbor waited hours before informing him of the disturbance — called for a wellness check on Small police said.

A still from surveillance footage taken inside the Highbridge building shows a man standing outside the scene of the crime. (Obtained by Daily News)
A still from surveillance footage taken inside the Highbridge building shows a man standing outside the scene of the crime. (Obtained by Daily News)

Responding officers were directed to a sixth-floor apartment where a man opened the door around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to police.

Inside they found the torso — which was attached to the victim’s legs but missing both arms and a head — stuffed inside a blue bin.

Upon reviewing the building’s security feed, the super recovered footage of a man who appears to be Johnson Jr. entering and exiting the building’s elevator carrying garbage bags and containers, including a blue bin. He is seen wearing various outfits, including a newsboy cap and blazer, a boonie hat and beige jacket, and a blond woman’s wig with a down puffer.

A still from surveillance footage taken inside the Highbridge building shows a man standing outside the scene of the crime. (Obtained by Daily News)
A still from surveillance footage taken inside the Highbridge building shows a man standing outside the scene of the crime. (Obtained by Daily News)

Johnson’s family was the subject of an expansive 2016 Buzzfeed profile detailing a legacy of crime that began with Johnson Jr.’s father, Sheldon Johnson Sr., whose corrupt influence infected the lives of both his son and grandson.

Deaf and addicted to crack cocaine and heroin, Johnson Sr. was arrested for raping his 7-year-old daughter three times and forced his son to translate for him during drug deals, according to Buzzfeed.

He blamed himself for instilling the behavior in Johnson Jr. that would leave him staring down a 50-year prison sentence as a young man.

“Generation to generation, it all stems from me,” Johnson Sr. told a Buzzfeed reporter through a sign language interpreter. “I feel disappointed. I regret a lot of the decisions I made in life. It enters my mind all the time. A big, huge amount of guilt. I ruined everything.”

Police secure the basement of 979 Summit Ave, where a torso was found, on Tuesday,in an upper floor apartment.(Sam Costanza for the New York Daily News)
Police secure a basement door the day after a torso was found in an apartment on Summit Ave. in the Bronx on Tuesday. (Sam Costanza for the New York Daily News)

Johnson Jr.’s son, also named Sheldon Johnson, made headlines in 2008 when he attacked a 24-year-old Columbia University graduate student, Mingui Yu, near the corner of Broadway and W. 122nd St. in Morningside Heights, punching his victim repeatedly in the face.

Yu stumbled into traffic in an attempt to flee his teenage attacker but was struck and killed by a passing SUV. The younger Johnson was charged with manslaughter for Yu’s death and would spend 18 months in a juvenile detention boot camp.

On Joe Rogan’s podcast, Dubin called Jonson Jr. “a miracle” and told the show’s host that Johnson Jr. had been unfairly targeted for the 1997 robbery that left his victim with only “two stiches.”

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