JUPITER — A neighbor in The Bluffs who occasionally took Corey Johnson to high school with other students said Wednesday that the 17-year-old accused of first-degree murder was a “world-class dude.”

“Pleasant. Polite. He was a quiet kid for his age. He was stoic. He was a very typical kid. He never did anything to make you think he would do something like this,” said the neighbor, who asked not to be named, citing his relationship with the family.

Johnson, 17, is being held in juvenile detention while a grand jury decides whether to charge him as an adult on one count of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder.

The early Monday morning stabbings inside the gated BallenIsles Country Club in Palm Beach Gardens left 13-year-old Jovanni Sierra dead and a woman and child seriously injured.

Elaine Simon — who sustained 10 to 12 stab wounds, including to her face, neck and wrists — has been released from St. Mary’s Medical Center. Dane Bancroft, Simon’s 13-year-old son, was stabbed 32 times and lost a kidney, according to his father.

Other residents in The Bluffs, a tidy neighborhood of single-family houses west of U.S. 1 and just north of Marcinski Road in Jupiter, said Johnson was a tall, slender young man who was often seen walking by himself.

“But that’s not a reflection that (Johnson) was a loner. There are not many kids in the neighborhood his age,” said Mike Hendren, who lives three houses away from where Johnson lived with his grandparents on Cape Pointe Circle.

Hendren said he had never spoken to Johnson.

Another neighbor who asked not to be named said Johnson got a job with Winn-Dixie on Frederick Small Road in Jupiter about a month ago, right after he stopped attending William T. Dwyer High School in Palm Beach Gardens. Johnson rode his bicycle to and from the job.


Video: Jupiter teen stabbed boys, woman because of ‘religious beliefs,’ chief says
Corey Johnson,17, is facing a homicide charge and two attempted murder charges in the Monday morning stabbing that left a 13-year-old dead and a woman and seventh grader seriously injured at a home in BallenIsles Country Club. “He stabbed the victims because of his religious beliefs,” interim Chief Clint Shannon said Tuesday afternoon during a news conference. A judge ordered Corey Johnson of Jupiter be held in a juvenile detention center while a grand jury decides whether to charge him as an adult in the killing. He faces a murder and two attempted murder charges. Friends and family of the victims packed the courtroom Tuesday afternoon for the brief hearing.
Palm Beach Post

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RELATED: BallenIsles stabbing coverage

“I would see him walking down the street. He had a backpack. He was a tall kid. There was nothing about his clothing or actions that set him apart from other kids. It seemed like he was always by himself. I never talked to him,” that neighbor said.

The neighbor who occasionally took Johnson to school said the conversation was light during the 20-minute ride to and from the school on the southwest corner of Donald Ross Road and Military Trail.

“We talked about the weather. He said he spent a lot of time on the computer, like all teenagers,” recalled the neighbor.

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Abreu family birthday party for their son Jovanni Sierra,fifth from left in yellow shirt, Sunday March 11, 2018, in Palm Beach Gardens. Jovanni Sierra, turned 13 Monday the day he was murdered by Corey Johnson. Johnson who is at the far end of the table stabbed to death Jovanni, and wounded two others during at sleep over at a Ballenisles home. (Photo Karen Abreu)