Clinton man charged in metal pipe murder

By Chris Berendt - [email protected]
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A Clinton man who fled to Connecticut following the brutal assault of two men with a metal pipe on Lisbon Street last month — one man died days later — has now been charged with murder. The suspect has used more than two dozen aliases in five different states in the past, but was living in the Clinton area at the time of the Sept. 4 assault, authorities said.

Around 1:22 p.m. Sept. 4, Clinton Police officers responded to an assault at 616 Lisbon St. Officers found two men injured, including Pedro Castillo, 27, and Wenseslao Luengas, 53, both reportedly of the Lisbon Street address. EMS personnel transported both men to Sampson Regional Medical Center.

“While both men had injuries to the back of their heads, Mr. Luengas appeared to have a very severe head injury and was transferred to UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill,” a police statement released on Wednesday morning read.

Castillo was treated and released from Sampson Regional.

Through investigation, officers learned that both men had allegedly been assaulted by a male known as Monte Johnson or Smith. Investigators were later able to confirm the person was actually Jahamahn Vhnsibisa Johnson, 46, whose address is listed as 2414 Browns Church Road, Clinton.

Johnson and Luengas reportedly had an argument much earlier that morning of Sept. 4, at which point Johnson left the house. He returned later the same day and struck Luengas in the back of the head with a metal pipe. When Castillo attempted to stop the assault, he was struck in the head as well, according to reports. Johnson then fled from the scene, authorities said.

Warrants were obtained that same day, Sept. 4, for two counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury.

Johnson reportedly had over 25 aliases with identifications in Minnesota, Georgia, Florida, Illinois, as well as North Carolina. A search in the N.C. Department of Public Safety database revealed results for Monte J. Johnson, noting aliases that included Jamahn, Kibbie, Monte and Mecha.

All the convictions listed under those aliases were out of Cumberland County and were from the early 1990s. They included convictions of drug possession and sales, resisting officer, felony breaking and entering, larceny and unauthorized use of motor conveyance, records show.

Investigators believed that Johnson might attempt to flee the area and began working with the DA’s office regarding extradition.

On Sept. 7, three days after the assault, UNC Hospital Police notified Clinton Police that Luengas had succumbed to his injuries. Warrants were obtained for murder and Johnson’s wanted status was updated for the additional charge.

On Sept. 12, Connecticut State Police located and arrested Johnson. He had been held in Connecticut awaiting extradition since that time and Clinton Police officials said Hurricane Florence further delayed the department’s ability to coordinate actual extradition.

However, with assistance from the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation, on Tuesday Johnson was brought back to Clinton, where he was charged with murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury. He also received a charge of interfering with emergency communication.

Johnson is currently being held without bond in the Sampson County Detention Center and is slated for a court appearance on Oct. 19.

It was a particularly violent September in Clinton.

The deadly assault on Lisbon Street for which Johnson has now been arrested was followed by a fatal stabbing at a family gathering on Harmon Street in which Jamaal Peterson, 39, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., was charged in the murder of his uncle, Anthony Frederick, 51, of Phoenix, Ariz.

Four days after the Harmon Street incident, on Sept. 23, Jihad Vaughn, 24, of Annie Bell Lane, Clinton, was shot dead on Eastover Terrace.

Clinton Police Chief Donald Edwards said police continue to investigate the deadly shooting, and are following up on all leads they get. He said investigators have had difficulty getting information from potential witnesses. He urged anyone with any information about the Eastover shooting to come forward with it.

The Clinton Police Department can be reached at 910-592-3105. Information can be given anonymously through the CPD tip line at 910-590-3009, or by texting it to 847411, beginning the message with “tipcpd.”

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By Chris Berendt

[email protected]

Managing Editor Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 2587.

Managing Editor Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 2587.