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19-year-old arraigned in New London murder case

August 22, 2018

Nineteen-year-old Jamir Johnson, who had left the area after the Dec. 9, 2017 shooting death of Quvonte Andre Gray in New London, was arraigned Wednesday in New London Superior Court.

His mother and other family members sat near the front of the courtroom, with one of them remarking, “Look how skinny he is,” when he was escorted into the courtroom wearing a red jumpsuit with the pants legs rolled up. 

Johnson is charged with murder, possession of a pistol without a permit and unlawful discharge of a firearm. He was extradited Tuesday from Plymouth County, Mass., where police charged him on July 31 with breaking into houses and burglarizing 54 cars.

Judge Karyl L. Carrasquilla set his bond at $1.5 million and transferred the case to the New London Judicial District “Part A” court where serious felonies are tried. His next court date is Sept. 12.

The arrest warrant affidavit detailing the charges against Johnson is sealed.

Police said they found Gray, 21, with a gunshot wound to the head in a basement apartment at 4 Orchard St. shortly after 3:15 p.m. on Dec. 9. Medics pronounced him dead at the scene.

Gray, a Florida resident, frequently visited New London and stayed in the city for extended periods, according to police. Following Johnson’s arrest in Massachusetts, New London Police Chief Peter Reichard said he was trying to notify the victim’s father in Florida. Capt. Brian Wright later confirmed in an email that the family has been notified of the arrest.

Police announced the day after the shooting that they wanted to speak with Johnson about the case. He did not respond to their attempts to talk to him, and in May they obtained a warrant for his arrest.

On July 31, police in Halifax, Mass., said they stopped Johnson and took him into custody after a brief foot chase after he was observed riding a bicycle through a neighborhood. They said he was wearing clothing and rubber gloves similar to those seen in a surveillance video at one of the burglary victim’s homes.

Johnson still faces the burglary charges in Massachusetts, but he waived extradition to Connecticut to answer first to the murder charge. He was transferred to the custody of New London police on Tuesday.

Bail Commissioner Timothy Gilman said Johnson had lived in Mashantucket with his family and had a pending charge of breach of peace stemming from a domestic incident in October 2017. He also is charged with failure to appear in court on that charge.

Attorney Michael Miller from the public defender’s office stood with Johnson for the arraignment and said an investigator from his office met with Johnson and reminded him not to speak with anyone about his case.

His family members shouted, “We love you, Jamir!” as he was led back into the lockup area. They told a reporter outside the courthouse that they think Johnson is innocent. His mother said she would be attempting to hire a private attorney to represent him.

k.florin@theday.com

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