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A 24-year-old Waterbury man was convicted of murder and other charges in the 2020 death of a woman whose body was left in a Watertown forest, wrapped in bags and bound by tape, according to state authorities.
In addition to the murder charge in the death of Rachel Lerato Sebetlela, a jury in Superior Court in Waterbury this week found Miles Johnson, 24, guilty of first-degree burglary, tampering with evidence, conspiracy to commit burglary in the first degree and conspiracy to commit tampering with evidence, according to state authorities.
When Sebetlela’s body was found on Sept. 12, 2020, authorities in Waterbury had been searching for her for two months, as she had first been reported missing when she stopped communicating with her boyfriend, roommate and loved ones in July 2020. DNA evidence confirmed the body found near Black Rock State Park was Sebetlela.
Authorities, citing evidence introduced at trial, said Sebetlela was “stabbed multiple times in the torso by the defendant at the victim’s Waterbury home” on July 10, 2020. When a hiker found Sebetlela’s body, it was wrapped in blankets and garbage bags and her wrists, legs and feet were bound with duct tape, authorities said in statement.
Waterbury police detectives tracked Johnson’s phone through the area on the night they believe the woman was killed, an arrest warrant released in 2020 said.
Investigators reviewed records associated with Sebetlela’s phone number and learned that the last call she received was just after midnight on July 11. According to the 2020 warrant, the call was 22 seconds long from a number connected to Johnson.
Authorities tracked the GPS on Johnson’s phone and it showed him heading toward Watertown around 2:50 a.m., according to the warrant. The phone stayed in the Black Rock State Park area for about 12 minutes before heading back to Waterbury, the document said.
Johnson’s sentencing is scheduled for July 13, 2023 in Waterbury Superior Court, authorities said.
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