January 31, 2024 - Brian PETERS JR Enters Guilty Plea in Murder of Jo Ellen Johnson

Today (Jan 31), Brian PETERS JR. (36), entered a plea of guilty to the offense of First-Degree Murder (CF) for the death of Jo Ellen Johnson (71) after prosecutors agreed to waive the death penalty. PETERS was adjudicated guilty and sentenced by Circuit Judge Steve Henderson to life in state prison without parole. The sentence will be concurrent with a life sentence PETERS is already serving in Pennsylvania.
PETERS also plead to Tampering with Evidence (F3), Grand Theft (F3), Criminal Use of Personal Identification (F3), and Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card (F3). 
Plea negotiations began after the defense indicated that PETERS would be willing to enter the plea in exchange for the state waiving the death penalty. Prosecutors consulted with members of Johnson's family and law enforcement who both agreed to the negotiated resolution.
With dual life sentences PETERS will never be released and die in prison. This agreement represents prosecutors best effort to consider the personal desires of those affected by this tragedy and deliver justice on behalf of Jo Ellen Johnson.
On January 3, 2021, Melbourne Police were called to 2900 S. Harbor City Boulevard where Jo Ellen Johnson was reported missing. Unable to locate Johnson, on January 13, 2021, detectives conducted a search of the property where she lived with several other  people, including PETERS JR. They found an area of disturbed ground near the shed in which PETERS lived and discovered Johnson's body buried there. In a months-long investigation, police were able to link PETERS to Johnson's burial, along with multiple financial transactions using her checks and debit cards. 
PETERS was arrested in Virginia and then indicted by a Brevard Grand Jury on April 27, 2021.
Todd Brown
Media Information &
(321) 617-7310
Office of the State Attorney
18th Judicial Circuit
2725 Judge Fran Jamieson
Way Building D
Viera, Fl. 32940

Created and maintained by:
Site Developed and Maintained by Nsync Data Systems
"N-Sync Computer Services"