Cuyahoga County

Yaphet Bradley Sentenced to Life in Prison Without Possibility of Parole for Murder of Miriam Johnson

2/12/2019

 

CLEVELAND – Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley announced that Yaphet Bradley was sentenced today to Life in Prison Without the Possibility of Parole for the murder of Miriam Johnson.

“This gruesome act of violence has taken a loving daughter, sister, and mother away from her family,” said Prosecutor O’Malley.  “While today’s sentencing brings a sense of justice for Miriam’s family, their pain from this loss will remain.”

On March 7th, 2018, Cleveland Heights Police Department (CHPD) opened an investigation after Cynthia Johnson reported that her 31-year-old daughter Miriam Johnson was missing. Cynthia stated that she and other family members were unable to reach her over the previous nine days.  

CHPD interviewed numerous people that knew Johnson and Bradley.  Among those interviewed were neighbors and managers of Johnson’s apartment complex, who stated they noticed furniture being removed from Johnson’s apartment along with a foul-smelling odor after the time she was reported missing. Police also interviewed Calvin Young, a co-worker of Bradley, who would later admit his involvement in helping dispose of the victim’s body.

On March 19th, CHPD and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation executed a search warrant of the victim’s Cleveland Heights apartment near Mayfield Rd. and Cleveland Heights Boulevard. The search revealed a near-empty apartment, bleach-stained carpets, and blood-stained flooring.

On March 22nd, Cleveland Police received a call about a decomposing body found stuffed in a trash can in the bathroom of an abandoned house near Chamberlain Ave. and East 74th Street.  The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office (CCMEO) identified the body as Miriam Johnson. The CCMEO confirmed that Johnson died as a result of a gunshot through the back of her head and four stab wounds to her back. An unidentifiable liquid was located throughout the bottom of the trash can suggesting the presence of a chemical agent used to advance decomposition of the body.

Further investigation by Cleveland Heights Police revealed that Young used Bradley’s credit card on February 28th to purchase bleach, gloves and trash bags from Home Depot. Four days later, Young and Bradley went to a Wal-Mart in South Euclid and purchased the trash can that was used to discard the victim’s body.  They then took an Uber to a UHaul location in Cleveland Heights and rented a truck.  They drove to Johnson’s apartment and loaded the truck with her bed, furniture, and trash can that contained her body.  They dropped the furniture off at an unknown location and then drove to an abandoned house on Chamberlain Ave. where they discarded the bed and trash can.  Police later learned that the father of one of Bradley’s friends owned the vacant house, thus providing Bradley with the information that it was uninhabited at the time he disposed of the body. 

Bradley, 36, and Johnson, 31, had three children together. However, their relationship had a long, violent history. Bradley had been convicted of three separate domestic violence felonies, with Johnson being the victim in each case.

Bradley pled guilty to Aggravated Murder, Gross Abuse Of A Corpse, and Tampering With Evidence. He was sentenced today to Life in Prison Without the Possibility of Parole. Calvin Young has pled guilty to Burglary, Gross Abuse Of A Corpse, Obstructing Justice, and Tampering With Evidence. He is scheduled to be sentenced on February 21st at 9:00am.