Slain Westside woman's neighbor questioned in homicide case

Darnell Johnson, 24, arrested on charge of criminal mischief

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The neighbor of a 54-year-old woman who was killed late Wednesday night inside her Westside home was arrested the next day after he was brought in for questioning about a homicide, according to police documents.


Darnell Johnson, 24, was booked early Thursday evening into the Duval County jail on a charge of criminal mischief. He made his first appearance before a judge Friday morning.

According to his arrest report, Johnson had been picked up for questioning for an unspecified case. The contents of the interview are unclear, but while in the interview room, he damaged the surveillance camera equipment, the report said.

A Jacksonville Sheriff's Office spokesperson told News4Jax no one had been arrested in Shirley Blakely's death. The arrest report for Johnson was forwarded to the homicide unit, specifically the detective who arrived at the scene of Blakely's death, which JSO has classified as a murder. The report also listed that detective as the arresting officer. 

Police responded late Wednesday evening to a home on Beaverbrook Place, off McDuff Avenue, and found a woman, who family identified as Blakely, dead inside. Police said there were multiple injuries to her body. Family said her son found her dying at home after being attacked.


Though no arrests have been made in her murder, family said that before Blakely died, the mother of two and grandmother identified her attacker while speaking with her son.

Michael Blakely, her husband of 20 years who she had known since they were teenagers, was at work when she was killed. He stood outside their home Friday as a cleaning crew spent hours inside.

Days before she was killed inside her home, the home was hit by gunfire Sunday and police said several shell casings were found. According to the incident report, she told police there was a drug house down the street. 

Online jail records show Johnson has prior arrests in Duval County on drug dealing charges.

“It’s not safe for none of my family to stay on this street," said Mikesha Taylor, Blakely's granddaughter. "You never know what’s coming next.”

WATCH: Candlelight vigil to be held for grandmother murdered on Westside

As Blakely's family members await the autopsy results, they will be holding a candlelight vigil at 6 p.m. Saturday outside the house and preparing to plan her funeral. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help with funeral expenses. 

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