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Court Papers Say Murder Suspect Wanted To Become Serial Killer

February 27, 1992 GMT

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ A man accused of killing two gay men once wrote that his own diagnosis as HIV-positive had awakened his desire to become a serial killer, according to court documents.

Bail was set at $2 million Thursday for Jay Thomas Johnson, who was described as ″extremely dangerous″ by Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Pete Connors.

Public defender Scott Holdahl unsuccessfully argued for lower bail and noted that Johnson is under a doctor’s care.

It was the first court appearance for Johnson, 24, who was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder in the deaths last summer of Joel Larson and former state Sen. John Chenoweth.

Larson, 21, of Minneapolis was killed July 31 in a city park. Chenoweth, 48, of Minneapolis was slain on a secluded Mississippi River beach Aug. 10.

Another man, Cord Draszt, 19, of Coon Rapids was wounded in the Chenoweth shooting. Johnson is charged with attempted first-degree murder in Draszt’s shooting.

The complaint said forensic tests indicated all three men were shot with a .38-caliber pistol found in a briefcase in Johnson’s car.

Johnson’s journals, entries of which appeared in a criminal complaint filed Wednesday, contained his reflections on learning he had HIV, which causes AIDS.

″In these moments I knew what I had to do,″ Johnson wrote, according to the complaint.

″My dream of committing homicide on a large scale and entering the ranks of the nation’s most notorious serial killers, ambition which had grown as dormant as the AIDS virus now in my cells, were now reawakened. They had found a new sense of urgency.

″I fully intend to expedite a number of souls on their journey to the gates of heaven or the dungeons of hell.″

Police would not confirm that Johnson had the HIV virus.

The journals were found in a search of Johnson’s Roseville rooming house, the complaint said.

Also found was a handwritten version of a letter sent earlier this month to news organizations, claiming responsibility for the killings.

That letter, which claimed to be from a group called the AIDS Commission, lashed out at those who engage gay sex in public. The writer said he hoped to ″send a message to the promiscuous, filthy, gay community.″

Both slayings last summer took place in outdoor areas frequented by gay men.