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Jury finds Dontae Johnson guilty in 2017 Craigslist murder

He faces up to life in prison.
Credit: Hillsborough County State Attorney's Office

TAMPA, Fla. — Dontae Johnson was convicted Friday of first-degree murder and armed robbery in the 2017 death of a Holiday man who was killed while attempting to sell his dirt bike through Craigslist.

The jury's guilty verdict comes three days after a young man "tearfully relived the moment he watched his father die" at the hands of Johnson, the State Attorney's Office said.

Johnson, now 22, was just 17 when he and Ramontrae Williams, then 16, were arrested. Prosecutors say they had hatched a plan to rob a 44-year-old man and 15-year-old son who were trying to sell the dirt bike.

Investigators say when the man tried to leave, Johnson shot and killed him while Williams stole the dirt bike. In 2020, Williams took a plea deal for his role in the crime and was sentenced to 12 years in prison followed by 10 years of probation on the condition he testified against Johnson.

“A father lost his life, and his son will never be the same," Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren wrote in a statement. "All over a dirt bike. It’s so senseless. No outcome can bring back this young man’s father, but this verdict delivers justice for the victim and puts the man who killed him in prison, which is where he belongs."

Johnson's trial lasted five days. Jury deliberations lasted 90 minutes.

Johnson faces up to life in prison. He'll be sentenced by Judge Samantha Ward at a later date.

RELATED: Plea agreement reached for one man accused in 2017 Craigslist killing

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