Sheldon Johnson: Ex-Con Turned Activist Who Featured on Joe Rogan's Podcast for Turning His Life Around Arrested After Dismembered Body Found at Bronx Home

Sheldon Johnson
Sheldon Johnson in a still from the surveillance footage (left) and from an appearance on Joe Rogan's podcast last month. Twitter

A criminal justice advocate who boasted about turning his life around after getting out of prison — making appearances on shows, including Joe Rogan's podcast, was arrested on murder charges on Thursday, accused in a brutal killing that stunned a Bronx neighborhood.

As reported by NBC New York, a wellness check conducted on Tuesday night led to the gruesome discovery of a man dismembered in an apartment in Highbridge, according to police. Officers found a human torso and a foot in a plastic bin.

Neighbors Reported Gunshots, Saw Man Carrying Cleaning Supplies

Police officials said a concerned neighbor reported hearing gunshots from the unit and saw a man, later identified as 48-year-old Sheldon Johnson, as coming and going from the building multiple times through the night, carrying various cleaning supplies.

Neighbors claim on Tuesday early morning, they heard two gunshots, followed by a man shouting, "Please don't—I have a family." The neighbors reported hearing two more gunshots after that. Surveillance footage from outside the apartment's front door showed Johnson carrying the cleaning items as well as a full black garbage bag.

While executing a search at Johnson's home, police found the victim's legs, arms and head in the freezer. He was arrested and charged with murder, manslaughter and weapon possession.

Victim Killed Over Prison Dispute?

While being led out of the police precinct in handcuffs, Johnson shouted to reporters, saying "I'm innocent." A cause of death for the victim, identified as 44-year-old Collin Small, has not yet been determined by the medical examiner.

His relationship to Johnson was not immediately clear, but law enforcement sources told the New York Postthat the two may have had "a beef" dating back to their time together in prison.

Who is Sheldon Johnson?

In 1999, Johnson was convicted of attempted murder, robbery and other charges in a New York court. He was released from an upstate prison last May after spending 25 years behind bars, according to records obtained by The New York Times.

In his time since being released from prison, the 48-year-old had spent his time working with the Queens Defenders office, talking about his efforts to reform himself and help other kids detach themselves from gang life.

Johnson also appeared on a February episode of The Joe Rogan Experience to discuss his advocacy work and how he'd turned his life around while incarcerated. He claimed that he'd gone into prison as a high-ranking member of the Bloods, but began to untangle himself from his gang ties around 2005.

"I really said: I have to change my life. I have to change my life. I just can't do this," he explained. "I had a wife, I had kids, I had family still, my son was growing up. He was hearing stories of my so-called notoriety. I just didn't want to be that dad."