A North Philadelphia man has been arrested in connection with the February murder of a man whose charred remains were found on a trail in Fairmount Park, police said Thursday.
Kylen Pratt, of the 2900 block of Oxford Street, has been charged with murder, possession of an instrument of crime, abuse of a corpse, and tampering with evidence in the death of Naasire Johnson, 20.
Johnson’s family had reported him missing about a week before police found charred human remains on a cobblestone trail at Brewery Hill and Kelly Drive on the afternoon of Feb. 20. DNA tests were used to identify the remains as those of Johnson, who lived on Lapsley Way in West Philadelphia.
Before Johnson’s body was set on fire, he had been shot in the neck, according to police, who did not disclose a motive for the slaying.
Court records indicate that Pratt was already in jail when he was arrested. He is facing charges in two unrelated cases. He was arrested March 23 and charged with multiple counts of robbery, aggravated assault, theft, harassment, and receiving stolen property for crimes allegedly committed Sept. 22 and Sept. 23, according to court records.
He is being held on $375,000 bail in that case.
On March 24, the records show, Pratt was charged with endangering the welfare of a child by a parent or guardian and recklessly endangering another person. He is being held on $125,000 bail for those offenses, according to the court records and is being represented by the Defender Association of Philadelphia.
In the death of Johnson, police were called to 32nd and Thompson Streets at 12:11 p.m. Feb. 20 for a report of a person screaming. When officers arrived, they found charred human remains on the trail.
The Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office determined the manner of death to be homicide.
Johnson’s death is one of 229 homicides in the city this year as of Wednesday night, which is about 8% percent fewer than the 250 slayings at this time last year, according to the Police Department.
While lamenting the still-high death toll, District Attorney Larry Krasner on Thursday said the 21 fewer slayings this year were cause for hope that the city’s gun-driven deadly violence wave is ebbing.
“In that we should find a little bit of hope and encouragement that things maybe are starting to go in the right direction,” he said. “That reduction of 21 homicides is the largest reduction I recall this year so far. Obviously, it has not gone nearly far enough.”