Newark man found guilty of murdering brother and killing cat

NEWARK, NJ — An Essex County jury has convicted Ervwakine Pryor, 41, of Newark, of murder for fatally shooting his brother, Jovan Johnson, 29, also of Newark, according to an Oct. 25 press release from the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.

“This defendant senselessly murdered his own brother and his daughter’s cat, Skylar, over money. He then spent hours attempting to dispose of his brother’s body and other evidence of his crimes. Today’s verdict holds the defendant accountable for Javon Johnson’s death and offers justice to the family members forever affected by the defendant’s cruel and unnecessary actions,’’ Assistant Prosecutor Meredith Mona, who tried the case, said. “I commend the witnesses who had the courage to come forward and testify. They made all the difference.’’

Following a trial before Superior Court Judge Siobhan A. Teare, Pryor was also found guilty of unlawfully disturbing human remains. Those charges arose from Pryor covering and attempting to cut up his brother’s body.

The defendant was also found guilty of animal cruelty for killing his daughter’s cat, who he described as a “witness” to the murder.

According to Mona, the murder occurred on June 26, 2017, in the apartment Pryor shared with his brother on the 400 block of Avon Avenue. Pryor believed his brother had stolen money from him. He shot the brother and then called a friend and asked the friend to drive him to Home Depot. As they approached Home Depot, Pryor told the friend he had killed his brother and his daughter’s cat.

Pryor went into the Home Depot and came out with a reciprocating saw. The friend, who said on the witness stand he was in shock, took Pryor home and then reached out to the daughter who called police. When officers responded to the 400 block of Avon Avenue, they found Johnson dead.

Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 22. Pryor faces 30 years in New Jersey State Prison when he is sentenced by Judge Teare.

Prior to this case Pryor had 13 felony convictions for various offenses, including aggravated assault, drug offenses and weapon charges.