NYC Man Wanted in Murder of John Lea Arrested in Vermont

Justin Waller, wanted in the murder of NYC resident John Lea, has been arrested in Vermont and has confessed to the murder, the Rutland Herald reports:

Lea"New York City Police detectives arrived in Manchester early Friday morning requesting assistance in locating Justin Waller.

Manchester Police said Waller was a person of interest in the slaying of his partner Jonathan Lea at their apartment located in the Hells Kitchen area of Manhattan.

Police said they tracked Waller’s activities around the Manchester area for most of the day, eventually locating him at an apartment on Cass Terrace.

Police said Waller has confessed to the killing as well as using Lea’s credit cards for purchases and transportation to the area.

Waller was lodged at the Marble Valley Correctional Center in Rutland as a fugitive from justice. His bail was set at $500,000.

Upon extradition back to New York Waller faces the charge of second-degree murder, according to police."

Police found Lea's body on Thursday amid a gruesome crime scene.

Waller had recently been Lea's lover, according to the NYDN, and was living with him:

"A co-worker of Lea's, Michael Herz, said the lover – identified by
friends of the victim as Justin Waller – was 'down on his luck' and was
supposed to stay with Lea only briefly. 'A few days turned into a few
weeks. A few weeks turned into a month. A month turned into two,' Herz
said. 'This weekend is when John was going to tell him he had to leave.'

Herz added of his slain co-worker: 'He was an extremely giving person
and, apparently, that's what ultimately did him in.'"

Gay Man Murdered in NYC Hell's Kitchen; Police Search for Lover [tr]


  1. Marcito says

    I stand behind Patrick in NYC in wishing thoses who loved John Lea the quiet strength to face this challenge without hate and malice. Difficult days are ahead & John’s chosen family of friends need to be there for each other.
    Celebrate John’s life.

  2. Marcito says

    Who ARE you, Doug Berman? Please stop this. Unless you’re willing to show up at Lea’s memorial service & say those words to the faces of John’s family, go ahead & rant here. I don’t think I need to pray for John; better I pray for you.

  3. patrick nyc says

    Who knows what Lea saw in Waller, that is not the issue, the issue is that someone took another’s life.

    Some of my best friends for over 30 years are tricks I picked up in bars, you never know who you will meet. I also always told friends to introduce me and our circle to tricks, a way to keep them safe, and thank god they are.

    Sadly Lea picked a bad choice, it is not his fault, or his friends.

  4. JT says

    Of course there’s danger in bringing home a homeless juice head, Doug Berman, but life is full of all kinds of danger. Those types often have a rough-trade sexual appeal, and we can’t really judge others’ sexual taste. No one deserves to be killed for that (though I don’t think you were saying that).

  5. JSH says

    I’m just glad to hear that this guy was apprehended quickly and is off the streets! I can only hope that justice follows as swiftly.

    Whatever someone’s proclivities, nobody deserves to die in such a gruesome fashion. To those sitting in judgment, I say use your black gowns for a better purpose!

  6. Craig says

    I was a longtime friend and former roommate of John’s. Regrettably we had fallen out of touch in the last couple years. I’m desperately trying to connect with friends of John who knew him recently. Many of us from his days in Colorado and Kansas are trying to get information. I may even know you, but have lost many contacts over the years. If you knew John or have any information PLEASE contact me at Thanks, Craig

  7. Lisa says

    Unfortunately what happened to John could have happened to me or MOST of my friends(my many many Gay male friends, OR any of my many straight girlfriends). I have to believe it was that John was such an amazing person, he was called “HOME”. And I believe we HAVE TO LEARN from this; THERE are NO COINCIDENCES in this life.
    I for ONE will BE MORE CAREFUL with whom I bring into my home and I HOPE EVERYONE DOES THE SAME , like many, John wasnt the first friend to die this way. We all should say many prayers for his family, OMG his mom, dad, grandparents, how devastating. I knew John from events I worked for, he was always together and a gentleman. Stay Safe Everyone.

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