Police in Philadelphia arrested a man they say killed his gay lover and left the burning corpse in a local park in an effort to hide the pair's sexual relationship.
Kylen Pratt, 20, was taken into custody Wednesday, June 15, and charged with the murder of Naasir Johnson, 20, whose charred remains were discovered just after noon on February 20 on a cobblestone trail in Fairmount Park.
Police believe the two men were romantically involved and Pratt, known locally as 29th Street Rich, killed the openly gay Naasir after the man threatened to go public with their relationship, according to Metro Weekly.
Johnson's grandmother, Cynthia Johnson, told the Philadelphia Inquirer she had raised Naasir since he was a year old and that the two still lived and shared their meals together ever since. Her grandson's murder has left her devasted, she said.
"I'm in the process of trying to move because it was just him and me here, together," she told the Inquirer. "Every time I wake up and see his picture and I start crying. I can't eat, I can't sleep."
Cynthia Johnson said her grandson left in an Uber on the evening of February 17 and never returned. She reported him missing the following day. She said police told her Naasir's phone last pinged at 12:20 a.m. on February 18 in the vicinity of Pratt's home.
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Police believe Pratt shot and killed Johnson at his home in North Philadelphia. The medical examiner found the cause of death to be a gunshot wound to the neck. Police allege Pratt later transported the body to Fairmount Park where it was discovered by passersby on February 20.
"It's a relief that they arrested someone, but at the same time I'm just so hurt," Cynthia Johnson told the Inquirer. "It's just so sad. He didn't have to do that to him. My grandson didn't deserve that."
Pratt has been charged with murder, possessing an instrument of a crime, abuse of a corpse, and tampering with evidence.