- A woman suffering from drug withdrawal started hearing voices with tragic results.
Earlier this week, we covered the story of a man who started hearing the voice of God because of a bad reaction to antibiotics. We have here another story of hearing voices, but unlike the earlier one, this doesn’t have a happy ending.
Justine Johnson stands accused of stabbing Sutton, her 3-year-old daughter to death. According to the 22-year-old Michigan mother, she committed to murder because SpongeBob told her to do so through the TV.
The crime came to the light on September 17, 2021, when Johnson’s brother Knesley called 911. He had made a gruesome discovery — a human foot sticking out of a garbage bag.
According to Knesley, his and Johnson’s younger teenage brother had woken up around 6 p.m. the previous evening and found Johnson in thehouse’s bathroom. The teenager told the police that he believed Johnson — who was allegedly going through heroin withdrawal — was doing drugs.
He asked his sister where Sutton was, to which Johnson replied with a rude: “Mind your f***ing business.” Afterwards, the teen left the for a few hours.
When he got back home, the lights were out and no one was home. Some time later, Knesley came back from work, and the two brothers started searching the house for their sister.
Instead of her, they found the bag. When the police arrived, they found the body of a young girl who’d been stabbed multiple times.
The girl was later identified as Sutton.
Offer of Help
The cops started looking for Johnson, and they soon found her walking on nearby railroad tracks. They detained the woman, who refused to answer any questions, and later arrested her.
During the investigation, the police found that Johnson and Sutton had been staying at a house owned by Johnson’s mother, Alisa Johnson. The mother told the cops that she’d encouraged Johnson to spend more time at her house so she could help her care for Sutton.
By the time of the murder, Johnson and Sutton had been staying at the house for about a month and a half.
‘It Was SpongeBob’
Upon further questioning, it turned out that even Johnson didn’t have a full understanding of what had happened on the night of the murder.
“The conversation was very pieced out. We would review things and go back to those things,” said Child Protective Services investigator Ryan Eberline, according to WNEM5.
“Overall, the conversation, from what I could conclude, was that near the date of the 16th, [Johnson] had left her mother’s house walking and passed out in the graveyard.”
According to Johnson’s story, she couldn’t remember the specifics of what had happened. She told the authorities that she hadn’t slept properly for about two weeks and was experiencing hallucinations due to heroin withdrawal.
Johnson further explained that on September 16, Sutton had been watching SpongeBob SquarePants on the TV. Suddenly, the cartoon character started giving her disturbing instructions.
“It was SpongeBob who was saying these things on the TV. If she didn’t do what she did to her daughter, they would kill her,” said Eberline.
“She said she was afraid for her life and she had lost her mind,” he added.
At that point, Johnson claimed she “blacked out.” When she regained her senses, her daughter was already dead.
She then said that she went back to her own apartment, where she attempted to commit suicide. Whatever she tried clearly didn’t succeed and the woman on her way back to her mother’s house when the cops picked her up.
The investigators also found that she had used cocaine on the day of the alleged murder.
‘My Daughter Loved Her Child’
Johnson appeared in court on February 4, charged with felony murder and first-degree child abuse. She plead not guilty to both charges.
The judge, however, found probably cause for Johnson’s case to go to trial. She is due to appear in court again on February 28.
Should she be convicted, Johnson faces a life in prison without the possibility for parole for murder. She could also get another life sentence for the child abuse charges.
“My office intends to proceed to trial. This case is a horrible tragedy and I cannot imagine the level of grief felt by the family that loved this child,” Iosco County Prosecutor James A. Bacarella told CNN.
Despite it all, Alisa Johnson finds it in her heart to defend her daughter.
“My daughter loved her child. People are portraying her as someone she is not,” the grandmother said.