Circuit Attorney News & Updates

Teen guilty of murdering Vashon High School Valedictorian
February 26, 2015

At just 17-years-old, Sarah held many titles: Valedictorian of her high school class, homecoming queen, athlete, future lawyer.


Now, her boyfriend, Leonard Johnson, has a title all his own: murderer.


"Sarah will forever be in our hearts at Vashon High," an educator from the school wrote in court documents. Sarah's family also spoke in court about the devastation and grief her murder has caused them.


Wednesday, 17-year-old Johnson pleaded guilty to strangling his girlfriend in his home. Sarah was found lying in Johnson's bed, cold to the touch.


Johnson told family members that he had strangled Sarah and posed her body on his bed.


"The defendant had a history of assaultive and abusive behavior," wrote Assistant Circuit Attorney Tanja Engelhardt in court documents. "We are pleased he took accountability for what he did to that precious young woman, and he will be spending lots of time in prison thinking about it." 


Johnson was sentenced to 25 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections.

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