Prosecutors in Wayne County have charged an amateur adult film performer with first-degree murder in the killing of a gay, Detroit man he met on an unspecified dating app.
Diabolique Paris Johnson, 34, murdered Joshua J. Smelser, 39, on September 5 of last year after targeting the victim on the app and agreeing to meet at Smelser’s home, according to prosecutors.
Johnson is accused of shooting Smelser in his home and fleeing with a backpack containing the victim’s laptop, phone and credit cards.
Smelser’s neighbors chased Johnson after hearing gunshots, but he managed to get away. Police say the murder was caught on video.
The Fair Michigan Justice Project, a group that “focuses on homicides and other capital offenses committed against members of the LGBTQ community,” worked with the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office to bring about the charges.
“I’m proud to stand with Prosecutor Worthy and the Fair Michigan Justice Project to announce these charges today,” Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement. “It’s my hope that this case marks the beginning of a long partnership focused on providing justice to some of our most vulnerable communities.”
This wasn’t the first time Johnson allegedly used an app to target the LGBTQ community. He was charged with another dating app robbery that took place at a Red Roof Inn just days before Smelser’s murder.
“It is troubling that the perpetrator of these vicious acts apparently used online dating apps to locate and target his victims,” Alanna Maguire, president of the Fair Michigan Justice Project, said in a statement. “Michigan’s LGBTQ communities know that the Fair Michigan Justice Project, along with Michigan’s county prosecutors and law enforcement officials, stand ready to aggressively investigate and prosecute these brutal crimes.”
Johnson performed in amateur adult films under the name Chuck Da Dollasign, appearing in scenes with women. He also reportedly raps under the name Chuck Da MF Buck.
Smelser’s family has set up a GoFundMe page to help with expenses, and has pledged to donate any excess funds to local music and animal organizations to honor Smelser’s passions.