Sunday, 10 January 2016

82.Juan COVINGTON

Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Confessed to murdering because, quite simply, the victims' presence threatened his very existence
Number of victims: 3
Date of murders: 1998 / 2005
Date of arrest: July 12, 2005
Date of birth: March 3, 1962
Victims profile: His cousin, Rev. Thomas Lee Devlin, 49 / Odies Bosket, 36 / Patricia McDermott, 48
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Status: Sentenced to three life terms in prison in March 2006

Juan Covington was an American serial killer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He worked at Pennsylvania Hospital and was arrested in 2005 after security camera footage linked him to the murder of co-worker Patricia McDermott, 48, an X-Ray technician.
Victims
In 1998 Covington shot and killed his cousin, Rev. Thomas Lee Devlin, 49, as he was leading a prayer service.
In 2003 Covington shot David Stewart, 43, nine times as he walked home. Stewart survived the attack.
In 2004 Covington shot William Bryant, 33, nine times as walked to work. Bryant also survived.
In March 2005, Covington shot and killed Odies Bosket, 36, at a subway station.
In May 2005, Covington shot and killed Patricia McDermott.
Juan Covington received three life sentences for his crimes.
Wikipedia.org

Suspected Serial Killer Charged
October 26, 2005
New developments this noon in the murder investigation involving suspected serial killer Juan Covington.
Police were holding a news conference in Center City at noon. Action News has learned that they are announcing formal murder charges accusing Covington of murdering Odies Bosket outside a Logan subway stop in March
Another man, Morris Wells, was wrongly charged with that murder. Charges against Wells were dropped.
Police tell Action News that 43-year-old Covington has also been charged with shooting another man who came forward after seeing stories about Covington's arrest for the murder of Pennsylvania Hospital worker, Trish Mcdermott on May 17th.

Charges dropped against freed man
October 08, 2005
It took a courtroom minute yesterday to end 15 months of limbo for Clyde A. Johnson 4th, a social worker wrongly accused of a shooting that investigators now say could be linked to confessed serial killer Juan Covington.
Assistant District Attorney Christopher DiViny withdrew charges of attempted murder against Johnson.
And at that moment, Johnson had his life back. "Wow," he said from his seat in the back of the courtroom.
Johnson had been charged with firing five shots at close range at 33-year-old William Bryant on a quiet residential block in Logan on April 26, 2004.
DiViny said later that a ballistics test linked a gun owned by Covington to the Bryant shooting. He declined to comment further, adding that an investigation was "ongoing."
DiViny said the ballistics evidence, along with Johnson's strong alibis, "convinced us that the right thing to do was withdraw the prosecution."
Police arrested Johnson after he was picked out of a photo lineup by the victim. Unable to post $1 million bail, Johnson was detained at the city's Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility.
But in July, when Covington confessed to three slayings, police took a second look at the case against Johnson. The Bryant shooting occurred around the corner from Covington's home. Bullets were tested and matched a gun owned by Covington.
On July 29, Johnson was released from jail without having to post bail, but charges against him were not dropped until yesterday.
David Mischak, his attorney, said Johnson's ordeal should be a lesson in the dangers of building cases around eyewitness accounts. He said the ballistics test that linked Covington's gun to the crime was "the equivalent of DNA matching or fingerprints."
"This is an example of why ballistic tests should be conducted more frequently," Mischak said.
In an interview after the hearing, Johnson said his life has been on hold since his release from jail. With the lingering charges, he has not been able to return to his job as an AIDS counselor with Congreso de Latinos Unidos in Kensington.
Johnson remembers with clarity the moment his ordeal started.
"July 15, 2004, at 6:55 a.m.," he said. "Police came to my home to arrest me. I answered the door with a toothbrush in my mouth and my red shorts on."
Johnson said he had no idea that he had become the main suspect in the shooting of Bryant, an acquaintance. "I had no prison record, no nothing," Johnson said.
At the city's jail, Johnson said, "Every day was a low point for me."
He said he told police he was innocent from "the day they locked me up."
Johnson's coworkers were prepared to testify that he was at work on the morning of the shooting. His manager at Congreso had computer logs and a sign-in sheet to vouch for him.
Having the charges dropped, Johnson said, "was a burden off my shoulders."
Surrounded by his father, mother and stepfather, Johnson said it was too soon to talk about the last year, or his plans for the future.
"I just want to breathe," he said.

Covington's like 'Son of Sam,' experts say
August 08, 2005
JUAN COVINGTON sat silently in Police Headquarters after his capture last month and watched a videotape that showed him shooting radiologist Patricia McDermott in the back of the head as she walked to work from a Center City bus stop.
"Yeah, that's me," he said calmly to investigators, rubbing a hand against his neatly trimmed beard.
Covington had been in police custody for more than 24 hours and finally appeared ready to open the gates of his demented mind and flood investigators with details of a string of murders that he had committed.
In a soft, measured voice, the 43-year-old Logan man told police that McDermott had tormented him for months, exposing him to radiation and causing him headaches. With little passion and no remorse, he confessed to murdering her and two others because, quite simply, their presence threatened his very existence.
Since that confession, police have linked Covington, 43, to two other shootings through ballistics tests. They're also wondering if he had a role in the disappearance of a co-worker who wouldn't date him eight years ago.
Detectives now say that by the time they finish investigating, interrogating and counting bodies, Covington could turn out to be one of modern Philadelphia's most prolific serial killers.
Investigators are trying to arrange another round of questioning to see if Covington will confess to more killings.
"I find it hard to believe that he only killed between 1998 and '05," said a source close to the investigation.
Psychiatric experts call Covington an extremely rare breed of serial killer, on par with "Son of Sam" slayer David Berkowitz and Milwaukee cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer. As with some notorious serial killers, Covington's descent into homicidal madness may have been triggered by the death of his father in the late '90s.
Until his July 12 arrest, though, he appeared to be just be an oddball - once telling his brother he couldn't move his left arm for three weeks because he had been cursed - but had lived with girlfriends, fathered a son, held jobs, stayed out of trouble with the law, and legally bought and carried guns.
"Juan was always strange," said a relative who did not want to be identified. "He always had odd ideas. You never felt comfortable around him."
Still, no one close to Covington thought he would go into the books as a serial killer. Neighbors and even police say they have a hard time believing that he was capable of the crimes with which he's been charged.
"He was just a regular dude," said Harold Belcher, Covington's next-door neighbor. "Always quiet. You never really saw him around, but I didn't think he was a damn serial killer."
Experts say Covington bears the signs of a schizopath - a killer powered by a schizophrenic's paranoia and a psychopath's cold-hearted penchant for picking off victims without blinking an eye.
"These killings weren't motivated by lust or pleasure," said Bruce Eimer, a clinical psychologist based in Huntingdon Valley. "He decided these people needed to be taken out. He did them efficiently and coldly, and avoided capture."
Serial killers are rare enough. One of every 100 serial killers, experts say, is a schizopath.
Most serial killers, like Ted Bundy and recently captured "BTK" strangler Dennis Rader, are psychopaths who derive pleasure and a sense of power from their crimes. But Covington apparently took no pleasure from killing. He likely obsessed about people he considered to be threats and eliminated them when he could no longer control his anxiety, Eimer said.
Covington's lawyer, Charles Peruto Jr., suggests that his client is a paranoid schizophrenic who could not help but commit the murders to which he's confessed. But that's likely only part of his illness, said Eimer.
Covington grew up on a leafy, working-class street in Logan with his parents and older brother. He was a regular kid with regular hobbies and rarely, if ever, bothered anyone as a boy. He attended Roman Catholic High School and enjoyed basketball. He and his older brother, James, shared an almost inseparable bond, said a woman who lived across 11th Street from the family.
Covington tried college, but dropped out after a year. In May 1983, SEPTA hired him as a bus driver, a job he kept for many years.
Two years later, he began dating a woman who attended Temple University. As the relationship blossomed, the woman moved in with Covington and his parents. Covington and the woman had a child a year later, according to a relative, but never married.
The boy, Joe, is now 18. He tells relatives he remembers some happy times with his dad. But the relatives also remember some troubles.
Covington was a reluctant parent, the relative said, and had a history of making promises to his son and breaking them.
He sought mental-health treatment in the late 1980s at an area hospital, the relative said. His father died in 1989, and Covington went into a depression, said Peruto. His behavior grew erratic, and James recalled times when his brother would forgetfully repeat himself.
A traumatic event, like the death of a parent, could have awa-kened Covington's schizopathy.
"You already have the gene for developing the illness, but usually something triggers it," Peruto said.
At his family's urging, Covington visited a psychiatrist and a psychologist in the early 1990s. He also withdrew, refusing to care for his mother while she was succumbing to diabetes and other illnesses, the family member said.
In 1993, Covington decided that he was well and told family members he was off medication, his attorney said. He privately told his brother that his medicines "were making him the devil," Peruto said.
He grew sicker. The woman who bore his child moved out. Covington met another woman and moved with her to Elkins Park. But by 1997, he was back in his parents' home, alone.
His mother had died while living with his brother in West Oak Lane during Covington's absence. When he moved back to Logan, he gave his parents' furniture to his neighbor Belcher.
"He gave me a lot of nice stuff - a china cabinet, TV cabinet, chairs, glass table," said Belcher, gesturing around his Covington-furnished living room. "I thought he was just being a pretty good old dude."
A fellow bus driver caught his eye that year, authorities say. Covington asked Brenwanda Smith, 24, for a date. She turned him down.
The last time that the Cheltenham woman was reported seen, she was arguing with Covington in a Hunting Park SEPTA lot, police say. Investigators say that they have no proof that she was murdered or that Covington had anything to do with her disappearance.
Covington withdrew even more after Smith's rejection. "You never saw him anymore. We used to sit on the porch and joke around, but then all of a sudden you'd only see him run in or out," Belcher said.
Covington never replaced any of the furniture he gave away, so he began living in a mostly empty house. He squabbled with Belcher, whose children used to hang out on the porch the two men shared. "He didn't like anyone being on his property," Belcher recalled. "We argued a little bit. He'd mumble something and walk away."
In August 1998, Covington began solving his disputes with deadly force. Police say Covington gunned down his cousin, the Rev. Thomas Lee Devlin, in the basement of a Logan home during a prayer service. Covington confessed that he killed Devlin because "he had the power to wipe me off the face of the Earth," and had used witchcraft to swell his gums and cause puss to pour out of his forehead.
Covington surfaced in South Plainfield, N.J., a few years later. Police there responded to a confrontation involving Covington, his son's mother and the woman's husband at the couple's home in December 2000. Cops made no arrests. The son, Joe, moved back to Logan with his dad.
The new arrangement was plagued with trouble. Covington fought with the teen and cursed him, the family member said. Once, said the relative, he pointed a gun at Joe.
Covington's work life also spun out of control. SEPTA fired him in September 2001. He told his son he had fallen asleep while driving a bus and had had several altercations with co-workers.
Covington quickly found work at a Home Depot in Upper Darby. It didn't last long. He slugged a customer in the face, he told his son, and was fired. Home Depot officials declined to comment.
Covington's unstable behavior worsened. Joe told his relative that he and his father would get off buses and subways at stops nowhere near their Logan home, because Covington worried someone was after him.
Covington applied for a gun permit in 2001, police say.
In 2003, Covington's brother, James, petitioned Family Court to get custody of Joe. The court ordered Joe to move in with his uncle in West Oak Lane and told Covington to seek counseling before he could see his son again.
Instead, Covington again turned to violence.
In May 2003, said West Oak Lane resident David Stewart, Covington opened fire, riddling Stewart with eight bullets as he walked to work near Covington's home, police said. Stewart was friends with Belcher, Covington's neighbor.
"I think he just woke up one day and said, 'I'm gonna kill someone today,' " Belcher said. "I think he walked outside and popped the first person he saw."
Covington's 9mm pistol - the gun that was used to shoot Stewart - also was used to wound another Logan man, William Bryant, early in 2004 and to kill Odies Bosket earlier this year. Police arrested innocent men in the Bryant and Bosket shootings, but cleared them after ballistics tests tied Covington's weapon to the crimes.
Investigators said they also were eyeing Covington in the 2004 murder of Ann Yuille, a patient-care assistant at Temple University Children's Medical Center. The body of the mother of five was found in a grassy North Philadelphia lot with a single bullet wound to the head.
Police are still running ballistics tests on weapons found in Covington's home and an additional batch of firearms that was recently turned over by his lawyer.
This year, Covington's mania reached new heights. On March 7, police say he shot Bosket three times near the entrance to the Logan subway stop. Bosket, a father of four, was rushing to pick his daughter up from day-care. Bosket lived a few blocks from Covington. Family say the two did not know each other.
After he was fired from Home Depot, Covington found work hauling hospital waste for an Illinois-based company called Stericycle.
That brought him to Pennsylvania Hospital, where he crossed paths with Trish McDermott.
Covington followed McDermott after she got off a SEPTA bus in the early-morning hours on May 17 and shot her in the back of the head as she walked to work, police said. The .380-caliber gun Covington used in the killing has been recovered, police say.
Police captured Covington near his home on July 12. The following day, he sobbed to his son in Police Headquarters that he had killed McDermott because she had picked on him. Investigators later learned that a CAT-scan machine that Covington believed that McDermott had been using to harm him was an office photo copier.
Shortly after McDermott's slaying, Covington attended his son's high-school graduation ceremony at Temple University's Liacouras Center. He sat by himself, away from his family, watching quietly as an arena full of people cheered the graduates, the relative said.
Soon after, Covington's son moved back in with him and told his relatives that Covington would let him stay out all night long. "It was like Juan didn't want him to know what he was up to," the family member said.
Eimer, the clinical psychologist, theorized that Covington would have killed again if he was not arrested. "People like that can go on forever until they die or get caught. The cycle keeps going," he said.
A source close to Covington said that he ultimately planned to kill his son and his brother, who is paying for Covington's attorney. "Joe once told me he was worried that his father would blow them up in that house," the relative recalled.
Police said they're also investigating the claims of a Center City lawyer who said he encountered a sinister-looking Covington on June 17. Christopher Evarts, 41, said he was walking home from work near 4th and Spruce streets in the afternoon when Covington began closely following him.
"I stopped to look at a historical sign and he was right behind me. I thought he'd rob me, but then he stared me down. He had a blue knapsack, and I thought, 'My God, he's going to shoot me. I'm dead,' " Evarts said.
Covington was wearing the same clothes he wore in a video image on the morning he shot McDermott, Evarts recalled. Though Evarts - 6 foot 4, 270 pounds - towered over Covington, he was terrified by the killer's beady eyes and silent stare. But then "he changed his mind, walked across the street and started closely following an old lady. She turned the corner and he kept following her."
It's likely that Covington will confess to a number of other murders in exchange for life in prison, said a police source. He is under suicide watch at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Northeast Philadelphia, his lawyer said.
Eimer stressed that the court needs to realize that no amount of medicine or therapy can cure Covington's illness.
"He's a blooming maniac. If he were ever released, he'd go back and kill again."

Murderer of three given triple life terms
March 4, 2006
Juan Covington, his lawyer said, was driven to shoot his five victims by a conviction that "he had a mission to exterminate the devil."
He was so small, a sunken figure in a baggy prison sweatshirt and black sweatpants who slid into his seat without ever looking around.
Relatives of his victims - the Bosket family on the left side of Courtroom 304, the McDermotts on the right - locked on the face of this man with a gray-flecked beard, rimless glasses and shorn hair.
They saw Juan Covington, 44, for what he was: an executioner.
Yesterday, Covington admitted killing their relatives, but on the ground he was mentally ill. Common Pleas Court Judge Benjamin Lerner immediately sentenced him to three consecutive life terms for murder. He also gave Covington two 20- to 40-year sentences for attempted murder.
On May 17, Covington came up behind Patricia McDermott, a 48-year-old mother of two, and shot her in the back of her head on a Center City street.
Just months before, on March 7, Covington had ambushed Odies Bosket, a married 36-year-old father of four, firing several shots into him.
Covington also murdered his cousin, the Rev. Thomas Lee Devlin, in 1998, and tried to kill two neighbors, David Stewart and William Bryant Jr., who were both left with grave wounds.
Recalling the sense of fear that followed the random murder of McDermott last year, Lerner said his sentence of Covington - for three murders and two attempted murders - would halt "the circle of victimization." Covington is not eligible for parole.
Relatives of victims described to the judge the brutal impact of the murders on their lives.
The aunt of Odies Bosket, Dorothy Bosket Wright, came into the courtroom holding a folder with family photos - an enlargement from a Sunday dinner, a big group shot of Thanksgiving 2004.
She said her family was tight. A dozen of them, including Odies' mother from South Carolina, came to the sentencing.
Her nephew, she said, was an attentive father who was on his way to pick up his then-3-year-old daughter at day-care. He never made it. At the Logan subway station, he was killed by Covington.
"You slaughtered Odies as if he was prey," Bosket Wright told the courtroom.
The lack of a motive has tormented the McDermott family, too. McDermott was killed at 4:42 a.m. near Ninth and Chestnut Streets as she hurried to her job as an X-ray technician at Pennsylvania Hospital.
The shooting was caught on an outside security camera and aired repeatedly on television newscasts.
"It replays over and over in our minds," said Martin McDermott, the victim's brother. And to Covington, he said: "Did you watch yourself on the news?"
Angela Amarhanov, the 16-year-old daughter of Patricia McDermott, was overcome with rage as she tried to address the judge. Yelling at Covington, she said, "You can't even look me in the eye and see whose life you've taken!"
There were no relatives to speak on Covington's behalf. Defense attorney A. Charles Peruto Jr. noted that a brother wanted to come but was reluctant to appear at the courthouse because of his physical resemblance to his brother.
None of the murder victims knew Covington. An anonymous tip led investigators to Covington, who confessed to the McDermott, Bosket and Devlin murders.
Two other men had been wrongfully jailed for the shootings of David Stewart and William Bryant. They were released after ballistic tests linked bullets in those shootings to Covington's gun.
Assistant District Attorney Edward Cameron said all of the victims were targeted because Covington thought each was "the devil" and "doing things to him."
Covington used to work as a SEPTA bus driver, but later drove a truck for a medical waste hauler. One of his stops was Pennsylvania Hospital, where he used to see McDermott.
Peruto described his client as "severely mentally ill." He said Covington had a history of psychotic episodes going back 15 years.
Peruto said he could hold down a job, even argue with neighbors and an ex-girlfriend "without shooting them."
But with his murder victims, he said, "he felt he had a mission to exterminate the devil." He added that because he saw himself as "the chosen one," he did not originally want to plead guilty.
When questioned by the judge, however, Covington said he was not currently taking medication or being treated for mental illness. Lerner sentenced him to the state correctional facility in Waymart, Pa., which houses inmates needing psychiatric care.
After the sentencing, the McDermotts and the Boskets lingered in the courtroom. The families had never met. The daughter of Patricia McDermott hugged the mother of Odies Bosket.
Standing in the cold outside the Criminal Justice Center to answer media questions, both groups said they took comfort in knowing that a serial killer had been stopped.
"We're glad justice was brought to us," Angela Amarhanov said.