WATERBURY — A 17-year-old Sacred Heart High School student allegedly murdered his mother after she refused to let him use the car, then he drove the car to school, police said.
Elijah Johnson was charged with murder on Sunday. He was arraigned in juvenile court Monday, but the case was transferred to adult court, police said.
He is in custody with bail set at $1 million. His next court date is scheduled on March 26 at Superior Court in Waterbury.
Police believe Johnson strangled his mother, 44-year-old Kacy Austin, the morning of Jan. 21 during a dispute over the use of the car. He then drove the car to Sacred Heart High School, but classes were dismissed early and he returned home around 11 a.m., Acting Deputy Chief Christopher Corbett said.
Johnson then called 911 to report that he had found his mother dead in their apartment at 448 Tudor St. when he came home from school, but he didn’t reveal what had happened to her, Corbett said.
Investigators worked the case for several weeks, exploring evidence that pointed to Johnson as a possible suspect. The teen had scratch marks on his shoulder and hand when investigators first interviewed him. Forensic testing revealed that Austin had her son’s DNA under her nails, Corbett said.
Austin’s family and friends told investigators they thought it was unusual that Johnson, who had only a driver’s permit, had driven the car to school that morning, because Austin would never let him drive by himself, Corbett said.
A significant lead came from a psychologist who called police over the weekend to report that Johnson’s father told him that Johnson had confessed to accidentally killing his mother. Johnson’s father hired the psychologist to counsel Johnson after he admitted to killing his mother, Corbett said.
By Hilda Muñoz, Hartford Courant