A Moreno Valley man was charged Thursday with the decade-old murders of a 25-year-old pregnant woman and her unborn child, who he allegedly fathered.
Russell Lynwood Austin, 34, faces a special circumstance allegation of committing multiple murders, making him eligible for the death penalty if convicted on all counts.
Erica Johnson’s body was discovered in her Moreno Valley apartment on Aug. 31, 2008. Her throat had been cut, and her 19-month old son was found near her body, with his mother’s blood on him, according to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.
Austin quickly came under suspicion in the deaths of Johnson and her 12-week-old fetus, but there was not enough evidence to file charges, according to prosecutors. In 2014, DNA evidence allegedly linked him to the crime scene, and the Riverside County sheriff’s Cold Case Unit reopened the case.
Austin was arrested Tuesday near Perris Boulevard and Iris Avenue in Moreno Valley. He’s being held without bail at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside pending arraignment, which was rescheduled to Feb. 21.
–City News Service