Sheriff reacts to charges in sex offender death: ‘This meth is going to be problematic for us’

A New Mexico “drifter” was arrested in Wisconsin and charged with the murder of a registered sex offender found in a field in Clay Twp. off Arlington Road on A. Brown & Sons Nursery property.

Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer said David Savage, 61, admitted to investigators that he killed Steven T. Johnson, 47, of Clay Twp. during a methamphetamine-fueled argument about a woman.

“This meth is going to be problematic for us,” Plummer said Tuesday. “They stay up for four days in a row. They’re wired up. They’re going crazy. They’re chasing that next high and they’re violent.”

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Johnson died of blunt force trauma to the head, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office, and Plummer said Johnson may have been beaten with a pipe.

Over the weekend, deputies served a search warrant at 4516 Eichelberger Ave. in Dayton and evidence there led to tracking Savage to Oak Creek, Wis.

Savage was arrested there on meth possession charges and interviewed by deputies, who drove to Wisconsin. Savage is being held in Milwaukee County Jail.

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Plummer said Savage was charged with murder, felonious assault, abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence. Investigators will seek to extradite Savage in a case Plummer said is ongoing to determine if anyone else helped Savage dispose of the body.

Plummer said it was an “isolated incident” and not related to any other area body dumping bases.

“It was over a female and, of course, drugs. … It was a fight over a woman,” Plummer said. “He’s kind of an enforcer … he’s kind of rough guy and would like to beat people up. Well he went a little too far this time and killed the individual.”

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Johnson was on the state’s sex offender registry for a December 1999 conviction for unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, records show.

Sheriff’s deputies do not believe Johnson’s status as a registered sex offender had anything to do with his death.

Johnson had several cases in Greene County Common Pleas Court, including for charges of domestic violence, illegal cultivation of marijuana, failure to notify of change of address and the sex crime conviction.


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