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Man accused of 2011 rape, killing of 83-year-old ruled competent for trial

Christopher Johnson is accused in the beating death of Emma Jean Beasley.
Christopher Johnson is accused in the beating death of Emma Jean Beasley.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 20-year-old man accused in the brutal home invasion rape and killing of an 83-year-old woman in Dinsmore has been ruled competent for prosecution nearly six years after the crime.

Christopher Johnson, who is accused of beating Emma Jean Beasley to death in her home, was ruled not competent for prosecution eight times since he was indicted in the July 2011 crime. He was placed in the custody of the Department of Children and Families for treatment.

But a psychologist told a judge in January that Johnson is now competent for trial, and the judge ruled that Johnson can be prosecuted in the murder and set a September trial date.

Investigators said Johnson's motive was robbery, but all he took was a jar full of coins, some jewelry and a T-shirt. Police said Johnson probably didn't think anyone was home when he broke in.

Johnson was charged after witnesses reported seeing him entering and leaving the house on Civic Club Drive. His fingerprint was found in Beasley's house, according to police.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office also developed DNA evidence tying him to the crime. The State Attorney’s Office said at the time of Johnson's indictment that it would seek the death penalty, but it's possible that decision will change based on the election of a new State Attorney and new state guidelines for death penalty cases.

Police said Johnson lived about a mile from Beasley's home and roamed the neighborhood, but did not know the victim or anyone in the Beasley family.

Johnson will next be in court June 13.