Murder trial involving Detroit man, kidnappings begins today

Charged with 2016 killing, kidnapping

Staff report


When Shawn L. Hope, 51, also known as Shawn L. Johnson, goes on trial for aggravated murder and two counts of kidnapping today in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court, the public may learn more about the confusing relationship between Johnson and his victims.

Johnson, who has a history of felony criminal cases in the Detroit area over the last 24 years, is charged with killing John P. Kellar, 41, of Niles on Dec. 2, 2016, in a house on Stephens Avenue Northwest.

A resident of the home, Alicia Binion, 36, and Kellar’s 22-year-old fiancee were kidnapped at the time of the killing.

Binion remained missing for several weeks until she “turned herself in” to police and was released after being interviewed. The other woman escaped from Johnson and contacted police.

All of the people involved have criminal records, and the home where the killing occurred has been the location of various criminal activities in recent years, according to police reports.

U.S. Marshals Violent Fugitives Task Force arrested Johnson in Detroit on March 30, 2017, and he has remained in the Trumbull County jail since then.

One of the kidnapping victims alerted police to the killing by having a woman on West Market Street call 911 for her about 7 p.m. Dec. 2, saying she had been abducted from the Stephens address, and someone had been shot at the home.

She said she got away while Hope was inside Rocky’s AM PM Food Mart on West Market Street. Surveillance video from the store showed Binion and Hope in the store.

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