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Man sentenced in Norfolk to more than 20 years for murder of married friend

Crystal Graham
police crime tape at crime scene
(© fergregory – stock.adobe.com)

A 40-year-old man was sentenced in Norfolk Circuit Court to 20 years and six months in prison for the second-degree murder of Faith Ann Johnson.

Dustin James Wilder was also sentenced for concealment of her body in 2019.

According to court documents, on Oct. 25, 2019 around midnight, Wilder called 911 and told the operator, “My girlfriend is dead. I am pretty sure that I am the culprit.”

He identified his girlfriend as Johnson and said that she was not breathing and was located at his address on West 26th Street. He told the operator he was calling from a 7-Eleven on Monticello Avenue.

When officers arrived at the 7-Eleven, they detained Wilder, and he repeated that Johnson was dead inside his home. Officers transported Wilder with them to his residence, paramedics entered the house, and they found Johnson’s body on the kitchen floor under a pile of blankets.

After being advised of his legal rights while still in the police patrol car, Wilder told a detective that visited his house several days before. According to Wilder, they had both been using drugs, and the next day she was dead from what he claimed to be an overdose.

Johnson’s autopsy revealed 50 fractures to her ribcage that had not healed (indicating they happened at the time of her death), dozens more injuries to her ribcage in multiple stages of healing, blunt force trauma to her head and trauma to her neck consistent with a prior strangulation.

A forensic anthropologist concluded that Johnson’s injuries were indicative of her being crushed to death while lying on a firm surface.

Johnson’s husband had reported her missing to Virginia Beach police on Oct. 22, 2019 after not seeing or hearing from her since Oct. 18.

On Oct. 23, her husband noticed that her debit card was charged at a 7-Eleven on Monticello Avenue — the only time her card had been used since Oct. 20.  He visited the 7-Eleven and contacted Norfolk Police who obtained video surveillance footage showing Wilder driving up to the store in Johnson’s vehicle and making a purchase.

The husband deduced that his wife had been visiting Wilder, whom he knew to be her friend. Johnson also told officers that, in the past, he had observed bruises to Johnson’s body after she returned home from hanging out with Wilder. Johnson then visited Wilder’s residence with officers and saw Johnson’s vehicle in the driveway. No one answered the door when officers knocked, and officers did not have proper cause to enter the home at the time, so they advised Johnson to continue monitoring his wife’s bank records and to report her missing in Norfolk as well.

Video surveillance footage from the same 7-Eleven on Oct. 24, 2019, showed Wilder making three additional trips to the store. During the first two trips, Wilder arrived in Johnson’s car and made purchases using her card. By the third trip, Johnson had placed a hold on his wife’s card, and Wilder was seen on video unsuccessfully trying to make another purchase.

Wilder pleaded guilty on March 6, 2023, to second-degree murder and concealing a dead body.

Judge David W. Lannetti accepted his plea with an agreement to a maximum active sentence of 20 years and six months in prison.

On Friday, Lannetti sentenced Wilder in accordance with that agreement on the conditions that Wilder be of uniform good behavior for 10 years, complete an indefinite period of supervised probation, pay $6,000 in restitution to Johnson’s family and not contact her family.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.