Man pleads guilty to Christmas killing of DC yoga teacher

WASHINGTON — A man accused of raping and strangling a popular local yoga instructor and stage actress pleaded guilty Wednesday to a murder charge in the grisly slaying.

Adrian Duane Johnson, 30, appeared in a D.C. courtroom and accepted an agreement with prosecutors.

Under the deal, Johnson faces 30 years in prison when he is sentenced in November and will need to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

According to prosecutors, Johnson approached Tricia McCauley, 46, as she was traveling to a dinner party on Christmas Day last year and attacked her.

Johnson raped the woman, beat her and used her own scarf to strangle her, prosecutors said.

McCauley’s body was later found in the back of her car, outside a CVS on M Street in Northwest D.C. According to investigators, inside the store they located Johnson with McCauley’s keys and other belongings.

Police said Johnson drove McCauley’s car around the area with her body inside, and made several purchases using her credit cards.

An autopsy determined that McCauley died of asphyxia caused by strangulation and of blunt force trauma.

Johnson, who has a long criminal record, has been held without bond since December in connection with the killing.

During a court hearing in January, his defense attorneys tried to convince a judge that there was little probable cause, describing Johnson as a man with a history of mental illness who was suffering from a possible episode when he was arrested.

Lawyers also discussed a conversation with a witness who came forward a day after Johnson’s arrest.

The witness claimed he rode in the car with Johnson in the early morning hours of Dec. 26 and saw McCauley unconscious in the back seat.

The judge said that Johnson’s fingerprints being found in the car, and McCauley’s body being discovered tied up in back of the vehicle, were two of several reasons why there was probable cause in the case.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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