Fort Worth

Convicted murderer accused of killing homeless man with concrete pipe

A homeless camp near downtown in 2015.
A homeless camp near downtown in 2015. Star-Telegram archives

A 44-year-old Fort Worth man previously convicted for murder has now been arrested on accusations that he fatally beat a homeless man with a piece of concrete drainage pipe.

Charles Michael Johnson was arrested Tuesday by Fort Worth police fugitive officers on a murder warrant.

He has confessed to the May slaying, according to homicide Sgt. Joe Loughman.

Loughman said investigators believe Johnson fatally beat 50-year-old Marcos Zavala with a large piece of a concrete drainage pipe, approximately four inches in diameter.

“Our investigation leads us to believe that robbery is the motive,” Loughman said. “...We do not believe that they knew each other.”

Zavala’s body was discovered May 16 by a passerby near the 1800 block of Bomar Avenue. Police have said they believe Zavala had been camping in the area where he was killed.

Johnson was being held in the Mansfield jail Wednesday with bail set at $250,000.

Tarrant County court records show Johnson convicted of murder in 1992 for the fatal shooting of 19-year-old Frank Richardson.

Richardson died of two shotgun blasts on June 22, 1991, at a house in the 4700 block of Chapman Street.

According to a Star-Telegram article about the 1991 murder, witnesses had told police that Richardson was a drug dealer who stayed at the house part-time to conduct drug business.

A witness told police that he was standing outside his house when he heard two gunshots ring out from the home. He said he then saw a man flee the house, claiming Richardson had shot himself.

Johnson approached a police officer at the scene, saying he was witness. He was arrested, however, because other witnesses had already identified him to police as the shooting.

Johnson plead guilty to murder in April 1992 in exchange for a 12-year prison sentence.

Most recently, Johnson was sentenced to four years in prison on January 2013 convictions for assaulting a family member and violating a protective order.

Deanna Boyd: 817-390-7655, @deannaboyd