A North Philadelphia man allegedly murdered his gay lover, appparently to keep their intimate relationship hidden from the public, authorities say.
Kylen Pratt, 20, allegedly shot Naasire Johnson, 20, in the neck and set his corpse ablaze. Johnson’s charred remains were found Feb. 20 on a cobblestone trail near Brewery Hill and Kelly Drive in Fairmount Park.
Charges against Pratt, which were filed June 15 following an investigation, include murder, abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and related offenses. As of presstime, Pratt was being held at the Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center in Northeast Philadelphia.
According to published reports, Johnson was last seen by his grandmother on Feb. 17. She lived with Johnson and raised him from the age of 1.
A friend of Johnson indicated to the grandmother that Johnson dated someone who went by a street name that Pratt went by. Through cell phone records, police were able to place Johnson in the vicinity of Pratt’s home shortly before his death. A detective reportedly told the grandmother that her grandson’s cell phone last pinged at 12:20 a.m. Feb. 18 in the 2900 block of Oxford Street, where Pratt lived.
Local officials theorize that Pratt killed Johnson to hide their same-sex relationship from others. Johnson was openly-gay. Pratt dated men and women, according to published reports.
A 2018 graduate of the Charter High School for Architecture and Design, Johnson was working as a home health-care aide and was preparing to enroll in Community College of Philadelphia at the time of his death, his grandmother said.
Jane Roh, a spokesperson for District Attorney Lawrence S. Krasner, issued this statement: “[Pratt] will get a preliminary-hearing date when he’s arraigned for the murder of Mr. Johnson — which is still pending as the defendant was already in jail for other offenses at the time of [his] arrest. [I]t should happen any day now. The DA’s Office is grateful for the work the Philadelphia Police homicide unit put into this case. Our Victim/Witness Services Unit and CARES team will continue to work with Mr. Johnson’s surviving family to offer support in their time of grief and throughout the criminal justice process.”
Philadelphia police issued this narrative of the incident: “On February 20, 2022, at approximately 12:11 PM, 22nd District Police Officers responded to 32nd & Thompson Streets for a report of a ‘Person Screaming.’Upon arrival, Police were met by the complainants, who directed the police to charred human remains on the cobblestone trail at Brewery Hill and Kelly Drive. On Feb. 21, 2022, the Medical Examiner’s Office conducted a post-mortem examination and determined the cause and manner of death to be Homicide. The victim was positively identified as Naasire Johnson (20/M) from Philadelphia. Through investigation, Police were able to develop a suspect in Naasire Johnson’s homicide. On June 15, 2022, the facts of the case were presented to the District Attorney’s Office for charging. The DAO approved charges against Kylen Pratt, from the 2900 block of Oxford Street, for murder, possessing an instrument of a crime, abuse of a corpse, and tampering with evidence.”