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Crime

Man Admits to Strangling Step Up Actress and Driving Around With Her Body

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Metropolitan Police Department

On Wednesday, a man pleaded guilty to murdering and sexually assaulting a Washington, D.C., actress and yoga instructor on Christmas Day 2016.

Duane Johnson pleaded guilty to a charge of first-degree felony murder in the slaying of Tricia McCauley, a woman he did not know and also sexually assaulted, the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Columbia announced in a press release.

McCauley worked as a stand-in on 2006’s Step Up and appeared in multiple short films and D.C. stage productions.

Johnson’s plea, which will not be final until sentencing, calls for a 30 year prison sentence, after which Johnson, 30, will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Henry McCauley Jr., McCauley’s father, told the Washington Post this sentence would be “sufficient” in his eyes. 

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“He’ll be an older man,” the victim’s father said. “We’re just not the type of people who want to see vengeance.”

Tricia McCauley (right)
C.Stanley Photography

According to the press release, on Dec. 25, 2016 at about 5:30 p.m., McCauley, 46, left her home and got into her Toyota Scion to drive to a holiday party at her friend’s house. On the drive, McCauley encountered Johnson, and he proceeded to get into her car and sexually assault her. During the struggle, Johnson took the scarf McCauley was wearing and used it to strangle her. After she died, Johnson took her body and put it in the backseat of her car.

She was reported missing by her friends and after a search was launched to find her, she was found the following night at about 11:20 p.m.

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Officers with the Metropolitan Police Department found her car parked outside of a pharmacy. When they went inside the pharmacy they found Johnson, who had the keys to McCauley’s car in his pocket. When police went to her car, they discovered her body.

Johnson has been in custody ever since.

Previously Johnson told police McCauley had allegedly tried to kill herself in the car.

“She was suicidal and hung herself in the car,” Johnson told officers.

When questioned by police about why he had been spotted driving her car, Johnson said that prior to “killing herself, [McCauley] told [him] that he could have all her belongings, including credit cards, money and her car.”

PEOPLE’s calls to the lawyers representing Johnson were not immediately returned.

Johnson’s sentencing is currently scheduled for Nov. 17.