Crime - Sacto 911

Yolo prosecutor declines to prosecute man arrested for death of Davis woman


Yolo County prosecutors have declined to file charges against the man arrested in connection with a woman’s death at a housing co-op in Davis, saying they need more time to review the case.

Yolo County District Attorney’s Office officials on Tuesday said prosecutors arrived at the decision late Monday “not to file charges at this time” against John Paul Johnson.

“We’re not prepared to file charges against him,” said Yolo County Chief Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Raven late Tuesday morning, adding that the office is “still doing continued investigation” and reviewing the case.

Raven said it remained unclear on Tuesday what criminal charges might be filed against Johnson.

The Yolo County Sheriff-Coroner’s Office identified the dead woman Tuesday as Crystal Marie Apodaca, who police said is in her 30s. She was found dead Friday morning at her residence in the Pacifico Cooperative Community, 1752 Drew Circle.

Officers responded about 9 a.m. Friday to Apodaca’s home and determined that her death was suspicious, warranting a homicide investigation, according to a Davis Police Department news release.

The cause of her death has not been released.

Johnson, 52, of Davis, was taken into custody about 3 p.m. Friday and faced homicide charges related to Apodaca’s death. The Davis Enterprise quoted him in a jailhouse interview as saying that he and Apodaca were using methamphetamine in his room at the co-op when she overdosed.

Johnson said that with the help of a neighbor he moved her back to her room. Once police became involved, neighbors who had advised him to move the body to her room “all told on me,” he told The Enterprise.

While he has not been charged with Apodaca’s death, Johnson will remain in custody into May on a March 1 probation violation for allegedly possessing methamphetamine.

Visiting Yolo Superior Court Judge S. William Abel on Tuesday granted the request filed by Yolo County District Attorney’s Office asking that Johnson serve the jail time for violating probation stemming from a felony arrest last October on possession of a controlled substance for sale.

Following Tuesday’s hearing, Jonathan Zachariou, senior pastor at Crystal Apodaca’s church, Davis Christian Assembly, described Apodaca as a woman trying to turn her life around.

Apodaca had only been a member of the Davis Christian Assembly congregation for six months, but quickly became a constant and popular presence. She would often take her pit bull, Rosie, to services.

“She was ‘the lady with the dog’ at our church,” Zachariou said. “Sometimes, Rosie would say, ‘Amen,’ ” he said, mimicking a howl.

She had been baptized just months ago on New Year’s Day and was preparing to move out of the co-op when she died. Zachariou said he had never seen Apodaca and Johnson together, adding that Tuesday was the first time he had seen Johnson.

“She was about to move to Woodland to try to get away from the people and environments” that led to trouble in the past, Zachariou said outside the courtroom. “She was boxed up and ready to go.”

“For Crystal’s story, there is redemption,” he said. “She was on her way to putting her life right. She is mourned at our church.”

Bill Lindelof: 916-321-1079, @Lindelofnews