Indiana man charged with murder of 39-year-old Detroit videographer

Suspect accused of targeting members of LGBTQ community

Indiana man charged with murder of 39-year-old Detroit videographer
Indiana man charged with murder of 39-year-old Detroit videographer

WAYNE COUNTY, Mich. – An Indiana man is facing charges in connection with a Detroit homicide and in an armed robbery in Dearborn.

Diabolique Paris Johnson, 34, of Indianapolis, Indiana, has been charged with one count of armed robbery for a Sept. 21 incident. He was also charged with one count of first-degree murder and one count of felony firearm for a Sept. 5 incident.

Johnson was charged in the armed robbery of a 26-year-old Detroit man that happened on Sept. 1, 2020. According to police, the robbery happened at a hotel in the 24130 block of Michigan Avenue in Dearborn.

Johnson is accused of the murder of a 39-year-old man who had moved to Detroit just six months prior.

Joshua J. Smelser, 39, was fatally shot in his Detroit home on Sept. 5, according to police.

Neighbors said they heard multiple gunshots and saw a person exiting his house shortly after the shots were fired. The person had Smelser’s backpack, which contained his laptop, credit cards and phone, according to police.

Police said two neighbors tried to chase the suspect, but lost him in the dark. Several cameras captured video of the suspect and audio of the murder.

READ: Family mourns death of videographer who just moved to Detroit

Police said the victims in both cases were targeted on online dating apps because they were members of the LGBTQ community.

Johnson is expected to be arraigned on March 4 after 10 a.m. in 36th District Court in Detroit.

The Fair Michigan Justice Project (FMJP) assisted Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy. FMJP is a program that assists Michigan law enforcement officers and prosecutors in solving serious crimes against lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender persons.

READ: More local crime coverage


About the Author:

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.