GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - By Jessica Bowman – email
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Two little boys showed up on a neighbor's doorstep late Monday night screaming, "My mother's dead." The tragic scene played out in Gulfport on 50th Avenue around midnight. One of Taneka Johnson's neighbors said the single mother's three and six year old sons watched as their mother was brutally beaten to death. They then ran for help in the middle of the night.
The words Janavia Johnson heard when she opened her door late Monday night were haunting.
Johnson remembered the frantic children telling her, "'Please don't close the door. Please ma'am, please don't close the door. Somebody broke in my house and killed my mama. Please let me and my little brother in.'"
She immediately brought the boys inside her home to safety and called for help.
"His brother was crying. He was crying. It looked like it was more of maybe fear. He told me what happened and I called 911," said Johnson.
When Gulfport Police arrived at the home on 50th Avenue, they discovered 28-year-old Taneka Johnson's body.
"We found Ms. Johnson deceased in the back yard," Lt. Adam Cooper said. "The investigation quickly identified a suspect as Mr. Crockett."
Lt. Cooper said 42-year-old Kevin Crockett had an on-going relationship with Johnson.
"We located him at his residence and the evidence quickly led to his arrest," said Cooper.
Janavia Johnson said she didn't really know the man accused of killing her neighbor, and had never seen or heard trouble next door. But what she saw and heard Monday night was devastating.
"To see those little kids' faces and for them to not understand that last night was the last time you were going to see your mom. I don't know. I just feel for them," said Johnson.
Kevin Crockett is charged with one count of murder and is behind bars at the Harrison County Adult Detention Center under a $5 million bond.
According to neighbors, the victim was also five months pregnant.