Steven Johnson

ST. PAUL, MN — You know that old saying about a good friend helping you move and a true friend helping you move the bodies? Well a man in Minnesota learned the difference when he stored his wife’s dismembered corpse in his friend’s garage.

On Monday, Nathan Schram received a phone call from 34-year-old Steven Johnson. Johnson was calling to inform Schram that his wife, 32-year-old Manya Johnson, had slipped in the shower and died. Johnson added that he’d then dismembered his wife’s body and had stored the parts in the garage of Schram’s White Bear Lake home. Johnson then asked Schram to rent a portable storage unit so he could move Manya’s body.

If you are wondering why Johnson would be so comfortable admitting to Schram that he’d cut up his wife and assumed it would be ok to store the body parts in Schram’s garage without Schram’s knowledge, it turns out Johnson met Schram while both served time in prison.

Johnson had served 17 years after pleading guilty to first-degree criminal sexual conduct in 1996. He and an accomplice handcuffed a girl in a car, then raped her. Schram was in the same prison, at around the same time, for helping his mother cover up a murder she had committed.

Manya and Steven Johnson

Manya and Steven Johnson

I guess Johnson felt he could trust Schram, and that his friend would help him hide his dead wife. This proved to be a wrong assumption, as Schram immediately contacted police to let them know what Johnson had said, and where Manya’s body might be located.

When Manya never showed up for work, worried co-workers contacted police and asked they perform a welfare check. While police were at the Johnson home, they received a call from White Bear Lake police who shared the details of their call from Schram.

Around this same time, Johnson showed up at the home with one of his wife’s co-workers. They told the officers they were out looking for Manya, and that they had found her car in a parking lot.

While Johnson was talking with police, a call came in from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension informing them that Manya’s dismembered body had been found in Schram’s garage. Johnson was then arrested and charged with second-degree murder. He is in jail on a $2 million bond. Police do not expect to file any charges against Schram and have stressed he is cooperating fully with police.

While in custody, Johnson allegedly confessed to police that he murdered his wife. According to the complaint, Johnson said he’d been drinking when he shot Manya in the head after she threatened to leave him and take their 18-month-old son with her. He then used a saw to dismember her body in the shower before placing her in several plastic bins.

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