Teen accused of fatally stabbing boy, injuring 2 others 'because of his Muslim faith'

Corey Johnson, 17, faces murder, attempted murder charges

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor

Police say Corey Johnson, 17, confessed to stabbing three people in a BallenIsles Country Club home, killing a 13-year-old boy, because of his Muslim faith.

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - A 17-year-old boy fatally stabbed another boy and wounded two others during a slumber party in a South Florida home, telling police he did it "because of his Muslim faith," Palm Beach Gardens police said.

Corey Johnson, 17, faces charges of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder in connection with Monday morning's triple stabbing at the BallenIsles Country Club.

Police said officers arrived at the home and found Elaine Simon and her 13-year-old son, Dane Bancroft, suffering from stab wounds. They were taken to St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach to be treated for their injuries.

Officers then found Jovanni Brand dead on the floor in an upstairs loft. It was his 13th birthday.

According to a police report, Johnson was spending the night at the home of a friend, while Brand was spending the night there as a guest of the friend's older brother.

"Elaine heard what she believed to be Jovanni moaning and went upstairs to see what was going on," Officer Jennifer Brashear wrote in the probable cause affidavit. "As she got to the top of the stairs, Johnson lunged at her with a knife, cutting her multiple times."

Simon told police that Dane ran toward Johnson "to protect his mother and Johnson then began to stab Dane."

Police said Simon's other son, Kyle Bancroft, 15, wasn't hurt.

During an interview with detectives, Johnson said he bought the knife Sunday and brought it with him to the sleepover.

"Johnson advised at 4 a.m. he realized that everyone in the house was asleep," the affidavit said. "At that time, Johnson made the decision to kill Elaine, Dane and Jovanni in their sleep."

Police said Johnson went to the loft where Jovanni was sleeping, stabbed him multiple times and cut his throat.

"In his statement, Johnson advised he stabbed the victims because of his Muslim faith," Brashear wrote in the affidavit.

Johnson told police that Jovanni was idolizing famous people and referencing them as gods, which went against his Muslim faith, the affidavit said. Johnson also felt Dane "made fun of" his Muslim faith, the affidavit said.

Just before the attack, Johnson was reading the Quran from his phone "to give him courage to carry out his intentions," the affidavit said.

Detectives interviewed Kyle, who said that although he doesn't believe in the Muslim faith, the two would often watch videos on the internet about "Muslim Jihadists."

"The videos are extreme and encourage death to non-believers," the affidavit said.

Simon told police that she had known Johnson for more than 10 years.

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