Man accused of killing woman along DC 295 was awaiting grand jury decision

Passion Pleasant, 32, from Northeast, D.C., died Saturday as of result of multiple stab wounds and gunshot wounds. (Courtesy Portia Pleasant)

The man charged with second-degree murder in the killing of a woman who was found along D.C. 295 this past weekend is awaiting a grand jury’s decision in an unrelated domestic violence case.

Four witnesses told police after they pulled off Interstate 295 near the Pennsylvania Avenue Southeast exit on Saturday, to help with what they thought was an accident or medical emergency, that they saw Gregory Johnson, 30, laying on top of Passion Pleasant, pleading with her not to leave him, according to charging documents.

Pleasant, 32, died on the side of the highway. A medical examiner later found she had been stabbed five times in the chest and shot in her left arm. She also had contusions on her face and forehead, the documents said.

Police noted that after arresting Johnson, the Marlow Heights, Maryland, man denied hurting Pleasant or taking drugs, despite the scratches and cuts on his body and the odor of PCP that officers smelled inside his GMC Yukon XL SUV, the documents said.

Johnson’s GPS monitoring anklet showed investigators that he was in the vicinity of Pleasant’s home before getting onto the highway, where they eventually stopped.

Pleasant’s home in Northeast D.C. is not far from the home of another woman who had filed two assault charges against Johnson. He is awaiting a grand jury’s decision after the court found probable cause he assaulted the D.C. woman with a dangerous weapon in September 2020, according to D.C. Superior Court documents.

It’s noted in court documents that the prosecution alleged Johnson had violated his stay-away order last month.

The same woman also filed a second-degree assault charge against Johnson in Prince George’s County for an alleged assault in April 2020. That case was dismissed when she failed to appear in court, according to Maryland Court documents.

A judge ordered Johnson’s competency to be evaluated in connection with the murder charge.

6 kids ‘just lost their mom’

Passion Pleasant’s family is “devastated,” sister Portia Pleasant said.

She remembered her sister as a compassionate and nurturing person who loved people.

“Unfortunately, some of the people who she [attracted] or tried to help were the wrong people in her life,” she said. “One of those people is one who took her life.”

Portia Pleasant said that Passion Pleasant had been in a relationship with Johnson for more than two years, and that it was a relationship she tried to escape.

“He would always make his way back into her life somehow,” Portia Pleasant said.

As the family mourns Passion Pleasant’s loss, Portia Pleasant said, they are putting their energy toward keeping Passion Pleasant’s six children together. She leaves behind three boys and three girls, who range in age from 5 to 15 years old.

“They need one another,” Portia Pleasant said. “They just lost their mom, and she was tossed on the side of the road like she was trash.”

Portia Pleasant wants to know exactly what happened leading up to her sister’s death, and she wants to see the man accused of killing Passion brought to justice.

“He is a monster, and he took a mother away from six children,” Portia Pleasant said.

Portia Pleasant said Passion was a pastry chef who worked at the bakery of an area Giant, and also worked as a host, server and bartender at restaurants to support her family. Now as they remember Passion, Portia Pleasant said she plans to also be her sister’s voice and stand up against domestic violence.

“Of course, this is a common thing in our city, and it has been normalized and there is nothing normal about it,” she said.

Portia Pleasant also wanted to acknowledge the people who stopped their cars to try and help her sister on Saturday.

“To all the people who took out the time to assist my sister and try to help her, keep her with us, I want to thank them,” she said.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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